Well now - this is quite the change of pace.
While I have written a number of columns for The Nueces County Record Star, some of which had the desired effect of starting topical discussion from opposing sides, this is the first such piece I have written as the newspaper's managing editor. I'd be lying if I said the new position wasn't at least a little daunting, because it is.
A community newspaper has a major responsibility to the area it serves, acting as both a source of information and historical archive for the residents that read through its pages.
My predecessor, Christopher Maher, understood that fact better than anyone I've ever worked with. And while he did leave some really big shoes to fill, I intend to do my best to expand how this community's newspaper works with the public to distribute as much information as possible to our readers every week.
The first thing I would like everyone to remember is there is no such thing as an event that's too small, or not important enough to be included in our pages. No doubt many of you have seen countless photos in previous issues of students who have fared well at science fairs or other academic competitions. The majority of these items were actually submitted to us by proud parents, relatives or educators from area schools.
We have always welcomed submitted items from our readers, and that will not change. Because our reporting staff may not always be available to cover an event, submitted items help to ensure readers are aware of someone's accomplishment or the success of an organization's event.
My email address is listed at the end of this column, so any submissions may be e-mailed there or brought into our office at 517 E. Main Ave. Submitted items must be received by 5 p.m. on Monday in order to be considered for that particular week's issue.
Another planned change will include the utilization of our Web site, www.recordstar.com. As many of you know, our site switched to a paid format last year. While many were unhappy with the change, the move was necessary to ensure the viability of our newspaper and its ability to compete in today's Internet-focused society.
But I realize that customers who are paying for access to our Web site demand more news on a regular basis, and I agree with that wholeheartedly. Our readers can expect to see more regular news updates to the Record Star Web site over the next few weeks, and I encourage our readers to utilize the site by uploading photos to the photo gallery or community events to the online calendar.
By the way, for those that have a print subscription to the newspaper, meaning you get the newspaper mailed to your home or business, you are eligible for a free username and password to the Web site. I'll say that again - if you already subscribe to our newspaper, you don't have to pay for access to the Web site. Only those who don't subscribe to our newspaper are required to pay for our site.
Just log onto www.recordstar.com, click on any of the displayed stories, and complete the registration information listed, which includes providing the address your newspaper subscription is mailed to. Only one username and password will be provided to current subscribers, however. Any additional access requests will need to be purchased.
There is one other thing I feel I must make clear before I close out this column, and that involves the news that we report. As I stated previously, I feel it is the duty of a community newspaper to distribute information and act as a historical archive for our readers and the area we serve.
Like it or not, that will include stories on events many perceive as being "negative." I just call it "news." Good or bad, it's all news. While we are happy to publish stories or photos on the accomplishments of our youth and area residents, there will be no hesitation in publishing stories on drug busts, investigations of wrongdoing or the childish antics of a particular school board. Youth who err on the wrong side of the law will not be immune, either.
The community has a right to know about any and all of these things, and it is our duty as your community newspaper to provide that to you each and every week within the pages of our print and online editions. It is a responsibility I do not take lightly and I plan to work as hard as I can to prove that over the next few months while I adjust to my new role.
After all, my best effort is nothing more than you, our readers, deserve.
Tim Olmeda is the Managing Editor for the Record Star. Readers may contact him via e-mail at email@example.com.