Returning for the first time
I’m delighted to be back at The River Reporter. After 11 years of criss-crossing the country in the process of becoming ordained as a Unitarian Universalist minister, I have returned to serve as publisher of The River Reporter and CEO of its parent company, Stuart Communications, Inc.
It’s an exciting time for newspapers!
As with everything else, newspapers are reimaging their role as the fourth estate. And the new models that are emerging have to do with fostering dialog and relationships and thinking innovatively, in partnership with businesses, about what services they need, since the primary services once provided by newspapers—disseminating information, connecting businesses with their customers—are now offered by a multiplicity of online alternatives.
So you can imagine that I couldn’t be more pleased to be jumping right into Sullivan County’s good and important work around recovery and addiction, in honor of September as National Recovery Month. We’re collaborating with Public Health Services and its addiction and recovery partners to produce a community resource guide and an initiative to encourage conversation about addiction and recovery. It's an example of the emerging model: a newspaper connecting communities of people in relationship and dialog around community issues. Check out the different features in this and upcoming papers.
As part of reacquainting myself, I’ve been out and about in the community—something I have not been able to do for the last three years, having worked half-time on Long Island during that period. I’ve been so impressed and bolstered by the dedicated work and commitment to community betterment that is happening on so many levels. From Sullivan Renaissance, to Sullivan Agencies Leading Together (SALT), to county employees working from their passion and Rotary Clubs spearheading community relief programs, there is a spirit, a can-do attitude. It’s really exciting. And this is just what I’ve seen so far; it’s the tip of the iceberg in terms of great things happening.
So mostly, I’m delighted to be thinking and strategizing how The River Reporter can amplify and hold together this community work. How it can be an effective champion of the concept of “We are all in this together.”
In one sense in terms of this work, I have been preparing for this time for a long time.
I’m delighted to have finally arrived.
P.S. If exploring emerging models of civic engagement through community journalism sounds appealing to you, and what, specifically The River Reporter can do in the community, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell me a little about yourself and how that exploration fits into your own passion to be an effective agent of community.
P.P.S. September is a great time to talk about recovery and the sticky opioid addiction crisis that faces our community.
P.P.S. Thanks to everyone, EVERYONE, who made it possible for me to study and gather skills. What a gift to me. What a gift to the paper. What a gift to the community.
P.P.P.S Follow this and other musings at www.riverreporter.com/blogs/publishers-log.