This week marks the one year anniversary of when I began as editor of The Hamburg Area Item. There are times where I cannot believe that it has been a year already and then other times I cannot believe that it has only been a year. In both cases, I am very lucky to have been in this position.
Over this past year, I have had the chance to not only grow as a person and writer, but to also get to meet all sorts of people and discover events that I had heard about for years but never attended. The coverage area is made up of a number of small towns in which I’m sure many of the residents probably use the phrase “nothing ever happens here” or “there’s nothing to do here” on a fairly regular basis. I know I certain did the areas that I grew up. As someone who looks all around to try to create a complete list of all the happenings in this part of Berks County, I would argue that there is plenty going on. The hard part is finding it.
There are so many events and festivals that I would have never even thought to go to had I not needed to for the job. Though I may have needed a push to get there, I tended to be pleasantly surprised and am looking forward to those events this year. Having a year under my belt, I know a little more of what to expect at the annual events and have a list of sorts of how I want to approach the article this next time around. There is also a list of what I never had a chance to get to and that I want to make it a priority to make it to those this year.
My goal when I began this position was not only to report the news, but to make sure that the coverage area was reported on, not just certain areas. While I do think that I have branched out a little more than in previous years, there is still more to be done and I am fully aware of that. It is all about learning how to balance and making connections with people who will let me know about events so that I can find a way to get them covered.
When I began on March 11 last year, the Facebook page was sitting at 511 likes and was not overly active. As of this past weekend, the page is less than a hand full of likes away from reaching 800 (currently at 796). That is quite the accomplishment in a short amount of time. Thank you to the readers who not only “like” the page, but are active in commenting and sending in photos. Some of my favorite snow photos came from our readers.
Interacting with the readership is essential for a community newspaper. I do not remember having such a full calendar at this time last year and a large part of that is people contacting us about either events or interesting stories that they wish to see in the paper. That would have to say my favorite part of this job is the relationship with the readership and community members. We have so many amazing people in this area and the younger generation is certainly making their own way as well. I enjoy not only getting to meet this people, but share their accomplishments with everyone else.
A big THANK YOU to all of you who pick up the paper, be it weekly, occasionally or if you just happened to grab this issue. This year would not have been the amazing experience it was without every single person who reads and submits to this paper. Just looking at what I have so far, this will another excellent year.
I have high hopes for this upcoming year and I hope that we can continue to grow the relationship between the paper and the people it serves. If you haven’t already, please go like our Facebook page (The Hamburg Area Item), follow us on Twitter (@hamburgitem) and on Tout (@hamburgitem) as we try to post regularly and often. And please do not hesitate to let us know what is going on or to submit to the paper.
Thank you for a fantastic first year as the editor of The Hamburg Area Item and here’s looking forward to this next year!
Shea Singley is the editor of The Hamburg Area Item. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and can be followed on Twitter @Item_Editor.