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It was absolutely the worst job I ever loved

By: Keith Kappes
Columnist
Carter County Times

Most folks gave me strange looks when I used that phrase to describe how I felt about being a community newspaper publisher. 

The actual journalism tasks, even on a stressful day, were almost always enjoyable but the business side got more challenging each year. It is no secret that the primary challenge facing our industry is to remain profitable.

For example, those of us from a print-only past learned to use more cost effective electronic technology to produce our print and digital products. Our biggest challenge was to convince more readers of all ages to become digital subscribers so that our news and information package could be accessible anytime and anywhere in the world.

We realized that a good, functional website was not enough. That’s why we had mobile apps and electronic or e-editions that consisted of an exact replica of each newspaper online at 5 a.m.

A funeral director friend once apologized to me for costing us a reader nearly each time he conducted a funeral. He was teasing me but both of us realized the ring of truth in what he said because research shows that persons 40 and older are the most faithful readers of printed newspapers.

My primary motivation in going back to newspapering was the opportunity to write a personal column each week, as well as editorials and other stuff. You can be assured that I’m still proud of what we did without fear or favor. 

I make no apologies for writing words that made folks laugh or cry or become angry or a more involved citizen because that is the duty of the free press. I agreed to do the job for three years and stayed around for six. 

But before I moved on, I wanted each reader to know that I appreciated their comments, good and otherwise, and that I wouldn’t change a word.

The second verse of the poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley best describes how I continue to feel about leaving full-time journalism:

In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud. 
Under the bludgeonings of chance,
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Keith Kappes can be reached at keithkappes@gmail.com

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