Each week a victory
August 5, 2020
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
~ John Lennon
Well, here we are.
The first issue of Volume No. 134.
Here at the Saratoga Sun, this new volume means closing a chapter on what was a very somber start to Volume 133. Our July 31, 2019 paper bore terrible news on the front page for our small family in the office and our August 7, 2019 paper had a page dedicated to someone we weren’t ready to say goodbye to.
Keith McLendon will always be sorely missed by his family, his friends, this Valley and this newspaper. Last week, we put out our 52nd paper without him in the office and, as you can tell, that anniversary was not lost on me.
Shadows, however, can only be cast when there is light. Another anniversary is fast approaching and that is the one year anniversary of being made editor and publisher of the Sun. It is a position to which I find myself still adjusting. I never made any official announcement in this paper; no staff report and no column announcing my promotion. In fact, it took several weeks before I switched from “reporter” to “editor/publisher” on page four.
I believe much of that had to do with not quite feeling like it was something to be celebrated at that moment. While I would have hoped to one day be in this position, it was something I wanted to work towards over several years and I certainly didn’t want to get it this way. Life, as we so often find out, doesn’t quite care what our plans might be.
While I may be leading this paper, I cannot and will not take the credit for the success that we have had over the past year. There is no way that this newspaper would be able to make it out on a weekly basis without Mike Armstrong, Amanda Shepherd and Dana Davis. Some weeks, it seems we barely get it to press with all four of us in the office.
Such is life when you live by a weekly deadline.
When I first became editor/publisher, I asked Amanda and Mike to give me a chance and to trust me. All I wanted was a few months to prove that I could do this, that I could navigate our proverbial ship through the literal uneasy waters that lay ahead of us. A year later, they’re still with me.
It certainly hasn’t been smooth sailing as we’ve had our fair share of blunders make it past editing and to the press. Some of those errors became points of humor among us as we joked about a mistyped headline that none of us caught. Other errors, meanwhile, have nearly had us in tears because we knew how bad those mistakes were. When those happen, it’s like a punch to the gut and you wonder if you can even manage to continue putting one foot in front of the other.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t focus on these negatives when they happen. A sharp word from someone or a mistake in the paper have, at times, stayed on my mind for days. Yet, there has been much more positive than negative in the past year. The amount of people who have had good things to say about stories or photos have been overwhelming.
What’s been even more overwhelming is the amount of people who have come to enjoy the new look we have to the paper, which I must credit to Dana. Whether it’s the Art Deco inspired logo, the new format for our legal notices or the change in typeface; all have been commented on and complimented. I certainly do my best to let the staff know when someone has commented specifically on a layout, an article or a photo because I want them to know that others appreciate them just as much as I do.
Anyone who has ever put out a paper can tell you that it is no easy task. It all too often seems that Murphy and his laws appear in the office as we speed towards our deadline at breakneck speed. Over the past year, I’ve counted each paper sent to the printers as a singular victory and, so, there have been 52 victories in the past 365 (give or take) days.
Make that 53 victories.