δῶς μοι πᾶ στῶ καὶ τὰν γᾶν κινάσω

Writing our county’s story… in progress

There’s an old Russian folk tale about a farmer who goes to the village wise man complaining his house is too small for his wife and their 10 children. The wise man tells him to invite his in-laws to move in, and to bring his farm animals into the house as well. The farmer complies, and returns promptly the next day, informing the wise man that his problems are even worse. The wise man then instructs the farmer to send away his in-laws, and put the animals back outside. Again, the farmer returns, and marvels to the wise man how spacious and clean his house is now.

If you’ve ever worked at a newspaper (and during your time at that newspaper you’ve ever worked on a Progress Edition) you know exactly what I’m talking about.

A common term in the newspaper industry, “Progress Editions” are a series of special sections designed to inform readers about the progress being made in a variety of important aspects of our region. These are articles and advertising readers won’t see any other time of the year — or from any other news source — making every section essential for anyone interested in knowing what’s going on, and what’s to come.

Progress Editions, for a newspaperman, are akin to what “Tax Day” is for accountants, what “Black Friday” is for retail, and what Valentine’s Day is for restaurants. The main difference — as far as I can tell — is the work which goes into a Progress is much longer than a single crushing day, but stretches weeks (even months!) leading up to the day of publication. What’s more, the work going into publishing a Progress Edition is expected to occur concurrently with the already onerous deadlines of a daily newspaper. For me it feels like spinning plates while juggling bowling pins: even if you manage to keep everything going, at the back of your mind you know — at any moment — it could all come crashing down on top of you.

As an added challenge for us here at the Henderson Daily News, we bumped this year’s Progress up to June from November… which means it’s been just seven months since we published our last Progress edition. In newspaper terms it’s not unlike starting football season completely over in January. Mind you, not that I would oppose such a change, but it does leave one feeling a little ragged.

I won’t lie, it’s been stressful. I’ve noticed the smoke breaks among some of my co-workers have steadily increased over the last few months. There’s been more than one tense moment as a section deadline has inched closer. Not for me, of course. Deadlines don’t bother me at all, I love the whooshing sound they make as they go flying by.

All kidding aside, it’s my great pleasure to invite you to enjoy the fruit of our labors. Progress 2014 is now in the books! If your paperboy’s bicycle was teetering precariously down your street this morning, it’s because today’s edition has swollen exponentially from a typical Sunday paper. You’re holding 56 pages in eight sections, a marked increase from the norm.

Not to toot our own horn, but there’s some good stuff in here.

Education has information and profiles of Rusk County school districts. Remember When offers a glance into our past. Sports & Recreation shows some of the attractions that can be found in Henderson and Rusk County. Business & Industry is a compendium of the various companies that keep our communities going. Farm & Ranch provides information on local agribusiness, just as the Oil & Gas section does the same for petroleum industry. Health Care is an invaluable resource on area medical services and providers. Neighbors gives a glance at some of the “movers and shakers” in our county. There’s bound to be something for everyone.

Every single one of us here at the HDN has lent a hand. We’ve all written stories and taken pictures, made countless phone calls, driven from one end of the county to the other, and quietly resisted the many murderous urges that have crept in. Or at least, I have.

But I also wish to express my appreciation to everyone else who made this possible — from the sponsors and advertisers, to the businesses and individuals willing to share so generously of their time and candor.

Here at the Henderson Daily News, we take a lot of pride in being Rusk County’s paper of record. We believe our job is to tell the tale of our community as it happens… that is, to write our county’s story in progress.

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2 responses

  1. Congratulations, Matthew, on your recent kudos in the field of journalism and your paper’s kudos as well. And … happy birthday tomorrow, July 12!

    July 11, 2014 at 8:28 pm

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