Sunday, September 19, 2010

Back in the newsroom, believe it or not

When I left the staff of the Rolla Daily News in December 2004, I never thought I'd be a newspaperman again. I thought I was going to be a magazine owner with a successful Ozarks magazine, but in its third year of publication, The Ozarks Chronicle began languishing. When my part-time job in retail become a full-time job, I shut down the monthly publication and devoted all my attention to my full-time job, which I thoroughly enjoy.
On Friday, Aug. 27, the opening date of high school football season, I went to the RDN to get a copy of Dave Roberts's annual football special section. Dave was there, and I sat down and had a talk with him, reliving the old days. I met many of the people who work there. I liked them, and I felt comfortable in the newsroom. I started missing writing for a daily paper.
A week later, I e-mailed the publisher, Floyd Jernigan, and told him I'd like to work 20-25 hours a week. Fortunately, he got my e-mail when he was working on the new budget. I went in and talked to him and to his editor, DawnDee Bostwick. They hired me, and I worked 25 hours last week.
Last week I wrote four stories, took a whole bunch of pictures, rewrote press releases, proofread several pages. I think I'll have a couple of bylines in the Monday paper. I hope so. I feel like I did when I was a cub reporter, waiting for my first byline.
A lot has changed in the nearly six years that have passed since I walked out of the newsroom for what I thought would be the last time. Publications have trouble competing with the internet, and there's talk that some of the nation's largest papers are either going to close or go to an all-digital format.
Community newspapers like the RDN are surviving because they provide news that isn't available regularly and reliably anywhere else. I'm looking forward to setting that news before you for many years to come.
My main job, my priority, will be my retail job, but I'll continue to write, shoot pictures and do whatever other assignment my newspaper bosses give me to do.
If you have an idea for a story for the paper, send me an e-mail and I'll consider it.
I'm very accessible. You can reach me at ozarksalmanac@yahoo.com or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ozarksboy. You can tweet me at http://www.twitter.com/ozarksboy. Of course, you can also write a letter to me in care of the RDN at P.O. Box 808, Rolla, MO 65402. You can even call me at 573 364-2468 in the late afternoon and evening.
I like to write all kinds of stories as long as they are the truth.--RDH

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