A different kind of Millennial

It is generally considered that I am part of the Millennial generation. I’m definitely on the older end of that grouping, but my under 40 nature makes me one of the oft-criticized, oft-written about Millennials.

Like the characteristics of my generation, I value experiences over things, enjoy things that are “local” and use social media for entertainment and networking.

In contrast, though, I have some tendencies of generations past. I enjoy keeping, by hand, score of a baseball game. Church is a staple for my family every Sunday, and I enjoy holding a copy of my newspaper with my morning coffee.

It’s the newspaper I want to talk about. Questions I’ve gotten ever since graduating college have been “Why newspapers?” and “Isn’t that a dying business?”

For me, it has been destiny mixed with passion. I was born into this business, the son of two newspaper lifers. I was infatuated by the process of going from a blank sheet to a paper delivered to your doorstep. I enjoyed watching the press run and looking at old bound volumes of the paper when growing up. I loved to write, and, later, I loved to lead people. I’ve been able to do both in this industry.

The passion comes from my unwavering belief in local news, and the public’s need to understand it. I feel that in places like Tiffin, there always is going to be a need to be up on what is going on in the community, and feel that journalism, in some form, will always exist in cities like ours. I’ve found that “Main Street USA” cities like Tiffin are full of passionate people who have a deep relationship with their place and understand that local meetings and issues often affect people far more than national ones. This is where a strong media outlet — in this case The A-T — has an important role in facilitating information and discussion between community leaders and residents.

When I graduated journalism school, I was alongside many talented young journalists, all excited to go out into the world and make a difference. Ten years later, I took stock of those I graduated with. More than 80 percent had left the industry by then, taking jobs outside the field with more consistent pay, better hours and more certainty.

But I stuck partly because of one of my guiding philosophies — “Why not me?” Being in a tough and rapidly changing industry, I feel leaders in my generation need to step up and use some of their “Millennial” creativity to help steer the news industry into the future.

I’m passionate about local newspapers and impact and importance they have to the communities they serve. Every day, The A-T staff and I dedicate ourselves to presenting this information to our readers, helping you make decisions on what to support, what to do on the weekend and where to shop at.

Many of us who spend our days inside the walls of The A-T could be doing other things, but we’re here, a group of passionate people who dedicate themselves toward serving our readers and advertisers. We don’t always do everything perfect, but we dedicate each day to serving our community.

So if you see this young-looking publisher, realize I am here by choice. I picked Tiffin because I believe it is a thriving place where a local newspaper that partners with its community can be successful in.

I have chosen this profession because I believe in the importance of the local press, and love the intimate relationship a newspaper has with its community.

I may be a Millennial, but I’m a Millennial who chose to enter one of America’s oldest lines of work. Excuse me while I step aside. My coffee is done, and I have a newspaper to read.

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