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We’re trying to get better every day

It’s about six months into my time here as publisher of The Advertiser-Tribune. It’s been a whirlwind. I’ve gotten to meet some great people as I’ve striven to get a crash course on what makes this area tick. I’ve delivered papers, designed sections and worked in the mailroom “flying” the press. I’ve worked to build morale inside of our building, and to build relationships outside of it. I’ve been called at 2 a.m. when the press wasn’t working and bounded around outside of our building when A-T employees hammered me during a water balloon fight.

In short, it’s been a great ride.

Most of all, though, what drives me, and drives us, is putting out a quality newspaper to you each day while delivering great customer service. That’s the lens I look through every day.

Newspapers have always been a key part of the American fabric, and that fact stands today, even amid our current jungle of technology. A recent study by the NiemanLab of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University backs that up.

The study shows that newspapers continue to be the most significant journalism producers in their communities.

“While local newspapers accounted for roughly 25% of the local media outlets in our sample, they accounted for nearly 50% of the original news stories in our database,” said the report’s authors.

This is important. I’ve long felt like the newspaper industry has done itself a disservice by spreading the “woe is me” mentality by printing stories about declining circulation, declining revenue, aging readers, technology or any of the things I get asked frequently about.

As Mark Twain so poetically once said: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

Between a steady, robust print circulation and an ever-growing online and social media audience, The Advertiser-Tribune has never had more people connected to it. We continue to make a difference in our community through covering it like a blanket, allowing people to learn about this place through the dedication of our editorial and sales staffs.

I often think of how lost I’d feel moving to a new place like Tiffin if I didn’t have the local newspaper to rely on. It’s been fun reading content not just through the lens of a publisher, but also from the lens of a newbie looking to become a fluent Tiffinite.

And through the hundreds of conversations I’ve had since coming here, I’ve been heartened by how many people care about The A-T and its success. And I’ve been equally impressed by the fact that people who are saying that are from a variety of generations.

I also have had many conversations with people who were not so happy with an aspect of our product. I’ve made boneheaded mistakes myself — we all do — but some of your suggestions have resulted in us reconsidering how we do things. I believe all feedback is useful, and appreciate the passion you all have for the local paper and community.

We make mistakes, and we will make more. We try to get the paper to you on time every day, but inevitably an occasional clunk in the production line will mean it gets there a little later than you’d like it. We apologize for every poor headline, blurry photo or paper that gets to you wet from the rain.

We will always strive to get better, and will never shy away from our mission of delivering a quality product to our community.

“Just trying to get better every day,” is something I’ve found myself saying a lot of late to people who gently (or not so gently) mention a mistake in the paper. To me, it’s something of a promise to myself, my staff and to our community.

“Just trying to get better every day.”

At times it may be hard to notice, but trust that is exactly what is happening at The A-T.

As evidenced by our continued role as foremost content provider in this region, we take our role seriously.

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

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