Everyone takes the limits of his own vision for the limits of the world.
- Arthur Schopenhauer
My mother was my biggest fan.
It was an uplifting and humbling experience that, no matter what position I took, shed always listen and defend me even when she thought I was wrong.
Moms not around any more, so I no longer can count on that unequivocal defense. And now, with my elevation to publisher of The Columbia County News-Times, I no longer can defer to someone else when the heat turns up.
That doesnt mean Im going it alone here, by any means. To even pretend that is the case would not just be delusional, but would be a betrayal of all the other people involved in producing the publication that has been Georgias most-honored non-daily newspaper for the past two years in a row.
While none of this newspaper business is rocket science, none of it is a solo game, either.
This really is a team effort, and we have a great team. During a company reception for the 2001 employees of the month last week, we suddenly noticed that fully a quarter of the honorees work in the offices shared by The News-Times and The Augusta Chronicles Columbia County Bureau - despite the fact that fewer than a dozen people work out here, from among a company that has hundreds of workers.
In short, as the kids say, we rock.
At the top of this list is Jason Smith, The Chronicles bureau chief who also directs news coverage for The News-Times. Either task is a full-time job, and Jason nails both of them with hard work and dedication - in addition to covering Columbia Coun-ty government as a reporter.
All the reporters for The News-Times and the bureau really make us look good, though. Mike Howell covers Columbia County sports better and in greater detail than anyone; Preston Sparks, Louie Villalobos and Melissa Hall keep readers informed on the life of a vibrant, growing county and its two cities. Jim Blaylock, consistently the winner of fistfuls of awards, illustrates the news with brilliant photography.
On the editorial pages, Barbara Seaborns insightful columns predate all of our involvement with The News-Times, while Jon Tanner has quickly built a loyal following for his amazing cartoons.
But guess what? None of this means two hoots in hell if no one picks up the paper and reads it.
Our quest, then, is to grab and hold the readers attention. Were always looking for ways to do that by providing information that readers want. The key, though is feedback: As the quote above from 19th century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer points out, it is possible for us to mistake our limited range of vision with all there is to see. Thus, we need to know what readers want - not just what we think they want.
There always is more to see, more to do, more to write about. The more eyes and ears we have available, the wider and better our range of vision becomes. Its not enough, in other words, to just have the admiration of our moms; we need attention and interest - and, yes, criticism - from our readers.
As someone who closely follows politics, I am keenly aware that no one elected me to this position. Im here thanks to hard-working people who keep the paper going, and because people above me are confident that I can do the job. And all of us are here because we are able to provide a service to our community.
Help us provide that service. Tell us how to improve, how to grow, how we can better serve Columbia County. As all visions are different, we may not agree; but Im always willing to listen.
Just like mom was.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to email@example.com, or call 863-6165, extension 106.)
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.