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Monday, December 4, 2023
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At a crossroads

By Jeremy D. Wells

Carter County Times

We’re approaching our third anniversary as a newspaper this summer. For most of that time it’s just been me and Nicole putting this thing together. But we have had a lot of help and support, right out of the gate.

Keith Kappes has been a wonderful source of advice and guidance, and we greatly appreciate his continuing contributions to our editorial page. You may not always agree with him, but you can’t ever say he isn’t both thoughtful and thought provoking. If Keith has ever challenged one of your sacred cows (and based on the emails and communications, he has for a few folks), we hope you at least came away with a better understanding of why you believe what you do, even if he didn’t change your mind. We believe that’s what a good op-ed should do.

Rebecca Konopka, with the agriculture extension agency, has been another fixture since we started. Her weekly columns have served as a touch point for keeping us grounded, and aware of the folks and community we serve. With Rebecca as our anchor, we’ve added grain and beef market reports to our paper each week. Sometimes we’ll even have a second ag related column from other folks in the agency. We feel like this has been a wonderful way to keep our lifestyle page relevant to the lives of our readers, and can’t thank them enough for helping us achieve that goal.

We could always fill it with syndicated content, sure. But that doesn’t reflect who you are.

And it isn’t who we want to be.

We’re a local newspaper, and we want to publish content that is relevant to our local readers.

We’re going to be trying a few things this year to meet that goal at an even higher level.

Sharp-eyed readers will have already noticed a new byline in the paper over the last few weeks. Miranda Lewis, after a few assignments as a stringer, has been brought on as a part-time employee to expand our high school sports coverage. She’ll also be covering school board meetings and education as a primary beat, but you could see her covering anything.

I plan to lean on her for some event coverage this year so that I can be more involved as a volunteer, instead of using the excuse that I’m too busy covering an event to help with it. (Or, that’s what I’m telling myself now. I still reserve the right to use work as an excuse to get out of other work.)

I’ll continue to cover local government at the county and municipal level, including special meetings and staying through executive sessions, so you know what actions your elected officials are taking and how they vote on issues brought before them.

It’s important to us that you have the information you need to hold your elected officials accountable, not just locally, but also at a state and national level. So another change you’re going to see in the next few issues is the addition of content from the Associate Press on state and federal issues.

We appreciate the updates we receive from Senator Robin Webb and Representative Patrick Flannery, and we’ll continue to publish those. They’re a fantastic way to get an inside look at the work the legislature is doing, and for your legislators to communicate directly to you what they are doing on your behalf – or conversely, to hear directly from them what they’re doing you disagree with.

However, we feel like you deserve an objective, third-party look at what the legislature, as a whole, is doing in Frankfort, as well as what our Senators and Representatives are doing in D.C. We obviously can’t afford to hire state house and D.C. correspondents, but the AP gives us that access from an established and trusted source. It also gives us the ability to maintain editorial control and choose content that is relevant to our readers and their concerns, so you won’t be flooded with news about Bowling Green or Louisville.

If it proves useful, we’ll keep it. If not, we won’t.

We’re at a crossroads with the paper, and we aren’t always going to be sure which path we’re going down – or if we’ll have to double back and choose again – but no matter what I promise it’ll be a path that circumscribes Carter County, from Willard to Soldier and Carter City to Rush.

And I thank you for the privilege of allowing me to continue sharing it with y’all along the way.

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com



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