A new year has arrived and this is always an appropriate time to chart courses, set goals, make adjustments, strive for improvement, and try out new ideas. In that progressive spirit, The Telegram will be focused on all of these as 2017 unfolds.
After all, some would argue that if you're standing still, you're probably losing ground.
In the way of a blanket New Year's resolution, and on behalf of the entire news staff, I can pledge that The Telegram will always strive to do the best job we can with the time and talents we possess to put out the best local newspaper we possibly can. Always, our abiding goal will be to cover as many worthy local news stories as we can and get them in the newspaper as quickly as we can, but not at the cost of accuracy or fairness.
We want to keep our close connections with the community and we care what you think about our newspaper and the job we are doing. While The Telegram and other newspapers are privately owned, what we do amounts to a public trust and we are therefore accountable to our citizens about in the same way as an elected official.
Therefore, we truly welcome your comments and suggestions and I personally invite you to contact me with your thoughts. My email contact is firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be published in every print edition and also on our website, which is www.thetelegramnews.com. Contacts with other news staffers can also be found on the website.
This particular column, entitled "Shop Talk," will be one of the new additions to the newspaper this year, and it will be our attempt to keep connections and communications with you on newspaper- and journalism-related issues. Shop Talk will be a forum for the editorial staff to explain our news coverage and philosophy and also to share public feedback with our readers. Shop Talk will appear on an as-needed basis and not necessarily on the front page.
Speaking of columns and editorials, you can expect to see more of them in The Telegram than in the immediate past. All the editorial staffers will be encouraged to write personal columns on the topics of their choice and will submit them as the spirit moves them and as time and space permits.
While I have always felt that aggressive, thorough and reliable reporting is a newspaper's most important responsibility and function, it sometimes becomes necessary for a newspaper to speak out with its editorial voice. We will be doing that from time to time, not to fill space, but to say something which needs to be said. In doing so, we pledge to keep our opinions out of the news coverage and make sure the boundaries between the two are clear in our presentation.
As always, we encourage citizens to write and submit "letters to the editor," but I also plan to invite and solicit some special opinion/perspective/informational pieces on topical, timely and relevant public issues from those in the community who are in a position to speak on these topics.
Another new Telegram feature, "Tweets, Tidbits, Trivia and Teasers," will make its debut on the front page in this Saturday's edition. The objective will be to pack a lot of interesting information and commentary into concise and breezy snippets, which will cover a multitude of subjects. Some of the items will be tweets which were posted in the news staffers' Twitter accounts.
In today's world, the newspaper's platform has to extend beyond the print edition and The Telegram has maintained an active -- and often an award-winning - website since 2007: www.thetelegramnews.com. The website's content is absolutely free and includes some -- but certainly not all -- of the stories which appear in our print edition, and we also aim to post the most important breaking news as it happens.
For several years, The Telegram conducted a very popular "Reader Poll" on our website. This feature will be returning with the first installment to be posted no later than this Friday. The polls can be found in the lower left corner of the home page and readers not only can participate, but can also find out the status of the polling. The initial plan is to change out the poll topic at least once every two weeks. We will also report the results in the print edition to accommodate those readers who don't often use the website.
Social media has become amazingly popular although there are still many who have not joined the cyber crowd. The Telegram has and still utilizes its own Facebook page and Twitter account and individual staffers have Twitter accounts they use to varying degrees. If you haven't already liked our Facebook page or followed our Twitter accounts, I invite you to do so. It's just another way to keep informed in the modern world of communications. As we enhance or change what we do to be of more service with our social media platforms, we will let you know about these tweaks as well.
Whether you pick up a newspaper or switch on a computer, The Telegram's objective will be the same -- to provide you with relevant news and information you need to know and want to read. Stay tuned.