A new day dawns for The A-T and community

Hello, Seneca County.

Today I awake amid a new sunrise that offers few hints of familiarity. The comforting rhythms of yesterday and the past have given way to a brilliant, unique landscape.

This is my new home, and I couldn’t be happier to be here. After 14 professional years and my formative years in Northern Michigan, I have made the trek to Ohio to be the new publisher of The Advertiser-Tribune.

I cannot wait to roll up my sleeves, connect with my community and make a difference.

You’ll find I am passionate about a few things in life — family, faith, community, sports and, of course, community newspapers.

I am excited about what Tiffin will offer my family and I in each of these categories, but it is the latter I want to say a word about.

I am a second-generation newspaperman. My parents met down the road at the paper in Wheeling, West Virginia. When I realized my aspirations of being a professional athlete were not coming to fruition (probably in about seventh grade!), I decided to pursue a career in journalism. It was natural for a kid whose morning routine throughout school included reading the daily paper alongside a bowl of cereal and cup of orange juice.

After graduating from Central Michigan University, I was hired to a twice-weekly paper in Gaylord, Michigan, as sports editor. I knew the Herald Times was a great paper, but I figured I would be there for two years and then move up the rung. The next great Sports Illustrated writer was where I thought I was destined.

A funny thing happened — the community journalism bug bit me. I fell in love with the relationship a paper has with its community — cheerleader, watchdog, historian. I became the editor of the paper, winning seven-straight Michigan “Newspaper of the Year” awards, expanding my roles at sister papers in a nearby community along the way. Now, 14 years later, I have moved to Tiffin to help continue the success of The Advertiser-Tribune.

On that front, look for me, my wife and two daughters to be out in the community, shopping, mingling and serving in a place that has proudly supported its local paper for so many years. I want to meet as many people as possible — and look forward to myself and other members of our staff serving on community projects alongside with our most important resource: you. We will look for ways to form partnerships with our readers and community and will rely on you to help us make decisions.

Above all, I will be an enthusiastic defender of community newspapers and their place in locations like Tiffin. We may not be able to cover Washington or Columbus as well as some, but we are going to cover Seneca County like no other. I am excited to embrace the challenges in our industry and to shout from the rooftop that local news and The Advertiser-Tribune are hand-in-hand, and we aren’t going anywhere.

I look forward to connecting with you through this column and welcome any feedback along the way. My door is always open and my phone always on, even if you simply want to make fun of Jim Harbaugh’s khakis or rub in last November’s score to a fan of That Team Up North.

The current sunrise in my view is bright, burning with energy and possibilities. I cannot wait to see what this day holds.

Jeremy Speer is publisher of The Advertiser-Tribune. He can be reached at jspeer@advertiser-tribune.com.