Influencing readers of all ages

By: 
Monika Spaulding, Digital Editor

I love my job. I love being out in the community, socializing, taking pictures and making people smile with stories I write and photos I take.

What I love even more is when I get a chance to go into the community I live in and talk to people about the job I do and why I love it. I’ve been asked to do that twice in the last month and it has been so much fun and so rewarding.

The first group I spoke to was Mrs. Amy Abner’s sixth grade English class at Salem Middle School. The group is working on a class newspaper and Mrs. Abner asked if I’d like to come in and talk to them about the job of a reporter, where we get stories, how we gather information, the roles of the people who work at the paper, etc.

My daughter, Ellie, is also in the class, so it was fun to see her and her friends and to get to tell them what I do everyday.

They had lots of questions for me and were eager to tell me what they know about The Salem Leader and The Salem Democrat. They all had their favorite parts of the paper: sports, mystery photo, court news. I pointed out the education page and told them if they are ever Students of the Week, they’ll be pictured on that page. They liked that idea!

I was happy to hear they were familiar with the paper and that Mrs. Abner gets the paper in her class weekly for them to see, read and do activities with. She may not realize it, but she is helping us grow future readers of our paper, which is awesome!

Not only did I get to talk about the aspects of the newspaper, but I also got to talk about the importance of transitioning the paper to online. The sixth graders I was talking to got Chromebooks this year and do all of their school work online. They don’t use textbooks and paper like most of those reading this column did in school. I explained to them my job as the digital editor and how fun it is for me to be a part of the paper and know the past and have a vision for the future. They all thought that was pretty cool and it made me appreciate even more how much this business has changed since I first got involved with journalism almost 20 years ago.

The other group I had the privilege of talking with was a local women’s group who wanted to hear about the story writing side of things. The women were curious on how we get our story ideas and decide what to write. I talked about the importance of writing for your audience. I don’t like to write negative stories. I don’t like to write about wrecks, fires, etc. But sometimes, you have to go outside of your comfort zone and get the story done. Our readers rely on us to get the news to them, quickly and efficiently. 

This discussion also lead to the changes from paper to online editions. While most of them said they enjoy the paper because they like to hold it in their hands, several also said they like the online edition of the paper because the pictures are clearer and they can click through the pages easily. In fact, many were surprised to learn that they had access to our online edition just by being a subscriber. If you subscribe to the paper, the online edition is part of your subscription. If you don’t know this, call The Leader office and let us help you get it set up!

I like visiting and talking with people in the community about what we do because I know how important it is. I take my job seriously and want to do it the best I can and I know my co-workers do as well. I rely on readers to tell me what they like, to give me story ideas and to give me feedback on my writing. That’s what makes me better and that’s what makes the paper better.

Thank you to all of you who gave me an opportunity to talk with you and for being readers of The Salem Leader. We wouldn’t be doing what we do without your support!

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