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Impressed with the passion of people in this area

Passion.

You’ve got to have it to be successful.

In a fast-paced industry like newspapers, you’ve got to have it to thrive.

In one’s out-of-work pursuits, you’ve got to have it in order to stay engaged and having fun.

In the success of a community, you’ve got to have it in order to remain relevant and thriving.

Passion has been the theme of my past week.

I spent time in each of our three buildings over the week — The Advertiser-Tribune in Tiffin, the Review Times in Fostoria and The Courier in Findlay. Across the board, I saw employees passionate about what they do — be it the ones whose words I share space with in this section, those who provide print and digital marketing plans to the community, those who organize the delivery of our products or those who run the press with precision and a keen eye. News organizations are places of passion, where the collective desire to serve our communities the news fuels a group of people dedicated to putting out the next edition.

That is all in vain, however, unless we have a passionate group of readers.

And…I am thankful to report that those in Northwest Ohio do not lack in their passion.

I have heard from readers in all of our locations over the past few weeks about some of the changes to the papers in Findlay, Fostoria and Tiffin. Not all interactions were positive — passion exists when people are both upset and excited — but all were appreciated. I have often said that any feedback is good feedback, and please know that I hear it all.

In all of our locations, here are some of the things that our staffs will stand for on this point forward:

• We will commit to serving up the best local stories on our front page and other featured pages. Local is the mission of our papers, as we have made a concerted effort to put more names and faces in paper. In terms of hierarchy of content, we prefer local, regional, state then national.

• This extends to our Opinions page. We will utilize the available syndicated content to try and serve up balanced viewpoints, but our goal is to be more and more local on the opinion page as well. We aim to encourage key leaders in all three communities to write columns for our paper.

• Inside of our walls, we are talking about collaboration and working with one another and with our communities. We want to be open to any kind of suggestion or story idea. We appreciate the passion, because we all share a passion for the local newspaper.

One of the things I am trying to do is get into our communities to see points of passion. In Findlay, I saw it in the many conversations I had with community members, including stops to the city offices, to The University of Findlay and meeting representatives of United Way. In Fostoria, I saw it in the kindness of a community dedicated to working together through the A Christmas For Every Child/Toys for Tots toy store, in which many come together to provide a Christmas for all. And in Tiffin, I saw it in the hard work and professionalism amid the tough scenario of a fatal vehicle-train accident Thursday. And I saw it in the determination and will to improve of the kids on the YMCA youth basketball team I am coaching.

Thank you all for bringing passion to our communities and to those things that interest you, even if it leads to some frustration toward the local newspaper. The goal here is to continue passionately putting together the news for the next 100-plus years.

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

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