The first Reader Advisory Board meeting went off without a hitch.
The 75-minute conversation Monday night among three members of the editorial staff here at the Journal along with five Richmond County residents — all stakeholders in a better Journal — seemed to be well-focused and accepting of input from everyone.
The group included: two business owners, a volunteer firefighter, a farmer, a storyteller, an artist, an actress, a dance instructor and a private investigator. As there were only five members present, it’s safe to assume that some individuals wear more than one hat.
A primary goal of the group is to identify and take advantage of existing resources and make use of those resources in the best ways possible. Some days, that’s easier said that done; that is, sometimes, things happen that are out of our control here.
Board members did a fine job of bringing up substantive issues and keeping an open mind about things we cannot change.
There was plenty of talk on the number of errors in the daily newspaper; it’s a fact from which there is no hiding. My philosophy, learned nearly two decades ago and honed over the years, is this: The only perfect newspaper is the one not yet printed. As I write this, today’s paper is perfect. As you are reading this, it is not.
There are errors in today’s edition. There are steps we are taking internally to decrease the number of errors but it will be next to impossible to eliminate them. Things won’t change drastically overnight; yes, we are (finally) full staff on the news side but all three reporters are pretty green; it’s going to take some time to train them up.
I hope your investment in The Daily Journal isn’t evaluated too intensely on a day-to-day basis; instead, I’m hopeful you see it as a long-term investment and, much like the stock market, one day to the next might not yield desirable results but it’s worth it in the long run.
Other highlights of the meeting:
* Board members discussed ways we can improve coverage of cultural events and thanked us for covering events like the Sandhills Ringers hand bell choir.
* We talked about the Journal’s plans to have an “ambassador” from each outlying community throughout Richmond County contribute a column on a monthly basis. We hope to soon identify someone from Rockingham, East Rockingham, Hamlet, Ellerbe, Hoffman, Cordova, Norman and Dobbins Heights, and possibly others.
* We discussed ways to get youth involved. The idea of a youth or teen section came up, and I shared my goal of starting to “hook” the younger crowd with a first step of having a rising junior or senior from Richmond Senior High School on board as an intern beginning shortly after Jan. 1.
The group’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Jan. 13 at the newspaper office, 105 E. Washington St. in downtown Rockingham. Hope you can make it.
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The Journal’s on YouTube.
Our first effort wasn’t well-publicized, if you can believe it. And it was a hastily scheduled affair, as the Richmond County Board of Elections decided the second- and third-place winners in the city council race — the difference between facing re-election in four years or only two — on Nov. 12.
We uploaded the video straight to the Journal’s Facebook page on Nov. 12, decision day, and created our own YouTube channel four days later. On YouTube, the video drew only two viewers.
The second venture, a clip of the Sandhills Ringers hand bell choir at First Baptist Church, went over a bit better. It attracted 95 viewers — a number that tells us video, if done right, can be yet another way we cover an event.
Go to youtube.com and search for “Richmond County Daily Journal.” Check it out, and let us know of any upcoming events you think we should bring a video camera to supplement our print and photo coverage.