The South County News and southcountynews.org is a new venture in community journalism. If you would like more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The South County News: Where Did We Come From?
By Mari Smith
No, this is not a question of debate for mankind, but the answer to the question of what and who are behind the creation and continuation of The South County News.
About a year ago, Bill Adams was pursuing a run for Vicksburg Village president. As part of that pursuit, he interviewed approximately 100 people with basic questions about the village. Consistently, Adams received responses from residents that the community needed a better way to communicate, especially after The Kalamazoo Gazette’s decision to stop publication of all local newspapers in February 2011.
Adams contacted Sue Moore, who has a long family history in the newspaper business. Adams wanted to utilize Moore’s knowledge of people in the newspaper industry. Moore’s parents owned The Vicksburg Commercial Express for 40 years, having sold it in 1972. She was also involved with running that paper from 1961-1982, so Adams had contacted the right person to get the job started. He also enlisted a team of his co-horts from Flowserve who had business and marketing skills.
Starting off with zero dollars and no official staff or affiliation with any larger publication, in November 2012, Adams and Moore were able to put together a group of volunteers to start the massive undertaking of publishing a newspaper from scratch, including all of the legal, physical, and financial issues.
Eventually, due to his political commitments, Adams stepped aside and Moore and Wes Schmidt took the reins and continue to lead the volunteers to make the paper a reality. The current board of Directors includes Editor Sue Moore, Treasurer Wes Schmitt, Vice President Sales Bob Smith, and Trustees Steve Ellis, Kim Marston and Fred Rainer. The board also has the assistance of Account Representative Brian Decker, and Madeline Fojtik, who did the graphic design for the first two issues and now Kim Marston has taken on that task. A group of local volunteer reporters and photographers contribute to the monthly editions as well, with Moore taking photographs and writing many articles herself.
The South County News now encourages coverage of local news events and community activities, advertising by local businesses to the communities they serve, and parents and grandparents can now proudly see and read articles on their children and grandchildren’s achievements.
The paper is on its fifth monthly publication and, when asked what the goals of The South County News are for the future, Moore indicated she is hopeful that it will become a weekly publication, that they will be able to distribute the paper to the entire South County, and that eventually the paper can be turned over to hired professionals, for continued growth and expansion.
In the meantime, the many volunteers who are producing the South County News are grateful for the donations people have sent to help us stay alive. The positive comments we have received, fuel our commitment to bringing the communities a quality product along with our advertisers have become the backbone of the publication.