Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

January 15, 2012

Jacksonville will always be her home

Karla Clark
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — (Editor’s note: Karla Clark is a reporter at The Daily Progress and is a guest columnist for Publisher Janet Gregg's "Just Ask Janet" column this week.)

The newsroom is always changing.

You never know who is coming, who is going, as so many public officials told me when I first came to the Daily Progress over the summer.

And they were right. Now it's my turn to head out of town. By the end of this week, I'll be in my truck blazing the trail West. Hopefully it will be an adventure –  by dint of a little elbow grease, everything usually seems to turn out right.

But first, before I go, there are a few facts about the Progress I have always wanted to disclose to our reading audience, perhaps to make life run a little smoother for my fellow co-workers I'm leaving behind.

They really are wonderful people. I am loathe to leave them.

Getting down to business:

Fact 1. Each reporter in the newsroom is about six months old professionally. It is currently staffed with two full-time reporters, a managing editor and a sports editor.

Fact 2. We cover the entirety of Cherokee County.

Fact 3. Some days, it seems like every person and entity within the county has orchestrated all their events/crises to occur simultaneously. On those days, it seems there are never enough cameras, hands or hours to go around. Those days always stretch past our “five o'clock” deadline into the late night hours, but are typically the most fun.

Fact 4. Some days, it seems everyone in the entire county has orchestrated to do nothing simultaneously. Those are the days that try the soul. The day eeks by as reporters pepper all their sources with phone calls, keeping an ear constantly to the ground. Sometimes the search for news is successful, sometimes it is not.

Fact 5. The editing process begins at Dave Mathew's desk. Dave checks a story for errors, hands the story back to the reporter, who then makes the corrections. After the first set of corrections are made, the copy is cross-edited by the reporters in the newsroom. Corrections are made. The final version is once again perused for mistakes by Dave.

Fact 5. Each page is then put together by Dave and the reporters in the newsroom.

What do all these facts signify?

First, I would advise the reading audience to understand the amount of hours and labor each person in the newsroom puts into each edition.

Looking over my desk at the other reporters/editors working alongside me, I've never seen any indication of half-hearted work. They're all champions and good-tempered to boot.

Second, sometimes, in the rush of a day, mistakes can get through. They shouldn't, but they do. Long hours without time for lunch can do that to a person.

Third, if you are a frequent source, please know that reporters aren't out to “dig up dirt” on anyone. Rather, it is the responsibility of journalists to keep the public informed. Be it good news, be it bad, it is never personal.

Fourth, if you know about something interesting going on in the area, do call.

Thank you readers, thank you Jacksonville. This is home, and no matter where I go, it always will be.