Dear Hermiston Herald readers:
Now that I’ve had a few weeks to settle into my official role as Hermiston Herald news editor (and get over the cold everyone has been fighting!) I wanted to share some thoughts with you.
First of all, thank you to our subscribers, single copy buyers and advertisers for your support of the Herald. We literally could not do this without you.
News products take a significant amount of money to research, write, edit, photograph, print and publish online. In communities that have lost sight of that fact, news outlets are shrinking and closing altogether. Research shows that where news coverage disappears, corruption and waste in government increase. Hermiston is lucky to have community members like you, who realize the importance of an informed citizenry and are willing to step up and support that.
In return, our staff want the Hermiston Herald to be a product that is worth supporting. Late last year, EO Media Group conducted a survey about what people find valuable in the Herald. There were a wide variety of responses (some of which directly contradicted each other), but one message I saw frequently was that people value community news. They want to be in the know about upcoming events, incoming businesses, new construction projects and what cool new things their friends and neighbors are up to.
The Herald has been adding more community-focused elements in recent years, including our Three Minutes With, Hermiston History, By The Way and photos of community events on the features page. Last week we announced a new Screen Time section that will come with the Herald each week starting Feb. 13, expanding and replacing the single-page TV listings that have traditionally been found inside the paper. The change will free up space inside the paper for more local content.
One change I would like to make right away is featuring regular guest columns. I’m working on getting the ball rolling there by reaching out to local pastors and talking to the school district about getting some students to participate. If you know an engaging writer in the greater Hermiston area whose thoughts you would love to read in the newspaper, send them my way.
I’ve also been throwing around plenty of other ideas with people in the newsroom — everything from a fact-checking-Facebook feature to including local student journalists’ work.
While I’ve been proud to work for the Hermiston Herald all along, I am excited to make improvements to the paper and continue looking for additional ways to help our readers stay “in the know” about their community. This is your newspaper, and I want it to feel like your newspaper.
If you ever have news tips, questions, photos to submit, letters to the editor, rumors you’d like us to look into, results from your child’s trip to a sports tournament, ideas for changes to the paper or (I suppose...) complaints, you can reach me at 541-564-4536 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jade McDowell is the news editor for the Hermiston Herald.