The Saratoga Sun -

By Liz Wood 



Did you see the Saratoga Sun's ad last week. We won 20 ribbons! That also earned us the traveling Sweepstakes Trophy.

The Sweepstakes Trophy is awarded to the newspaper that earns the most Pacemaker awards, in our case the small weekly division.

This is my 10th year attending the Wyoming Press Association Winter Convention. News and ad people from all over the state to converge on one location to learn how to do their job better.

It is hours of continuing education crammed into one weekend.

It is an exhausting weekend, but fortunately we have enough adrenaline running through our system to keep us going. Why? Because we are anxiously waiting to see who won the big awards.

In the past six-and-one-half years since I have been the general manager, I have learned how to improve the newspaper.

The staff and I listen to what the experts have to say and we bring it home with us and apply it to the Saratoga Sun.

We don't do it all at once. Mostly because on Monday, we are frantically working to get our stories written, the ads built and the paper laid out.

Then we discuss with each other how we can apply what we learned to improve the paper.

Those improvements have been rewarded as our walls have filled up with Pacemaker awards. Pacemakers are the awards that we earn for design, photos and writing.

There are 34 categories we can enter with a maximum of 60 entries.

Now imagine a bunch of egomaniacs trying to position themselves to get the most entries possible into the contest and you will have an idea of what our office is like the beginning of November as we decide what entries to put in.

Like any contest, it is subjective and we have no idea what the judges are thinking. This year was no different.

Before we are judged by our peers, we have to judge ourselves. We scrutinize our work and think, "I could have written that story better, or I should have used a different photo."

It gives us a chance to review what we have done over the past year and figure out a better way to do it even before going to the convention. We write an average of five to 10 stories per week (more if we are short handed, like we are now). We have to double check our facts, try to spell everyone's name correctly and then figure out how to fit it all into the newspaper.

Many of our readers think Wednesday is a day of rest. I wish. We start the process all over by talking about what we have coming up that needs to be covered - sports, school events and meetings.

The week never goes as planned because something else always comes up and we re-arrange our schedule to cover the event, whether it is planned or we just learned about breaking news.

My desk calendar is filled with notes to remind me what needs to be covered and events coming up.

It is also filled with times to call coaches, leads and appointments.

By the end of the month, it is difficult to see the white space on my desk calendar.

That doesn't include the appointments on my iPhone to remind me of appointments that I make when I am not in the office.

And that is just my schedule!

Working for a newspaper is an exciting and exhausting job. When Jim Angell, the executive director of the Wyoming Press Association, has to say Saratoga Sun 20 times when giving out awards, it makes the extra hours and late-night Mondays worth it.

Thanks for reading the Saratoga Sun.


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