What's a community newspaper without the help of its community?
I can answer that question with one word: irrelevant. It's why we here at the Globe are always looking for different ways to connect with our readers.
In my experience, the best way to do that is face to face. It's why my door is always open and I'm always willing to buy the coffee. (OK, the Globe buys the coffee, but I do provide a generous pour.)
We recently formed a community advisory board to meet with us once a month to give us the members' input on what they like in their paper or online reading, what they don't like and areas where they think their local newspaper can do a better job.
Let me introduce them: Paul Teverow, a retired Missouri Southern State University history professor and founding member of the Joplin Trails coalition; Susan Satterlee, a Joplin businesswoman and a former Joplin School Board member; Ivy Hagedorn, manager of the Empire Market and a jewelry artisan; and Lori Haun, executive director of the Downtown Joplin Association and a business entrepreneur.
Also serving on our board are Robin McAlester, business and community development manager at Liberty Utilities and the former director of Wildcat Glades Nature Center; Debbie Markman, resource development director at Economic Security Corporation of Southwest Area; Jennifer Martucci, a current Joplin School Board member; and Jerrod Hogan, vice president/principal surveyor for Anderson Engineering.
We recruited these eight individuals because they are active in the Joplin-area community, they have insight into important issues and none of them are afraid to speak their mind.
While we have in the past had readers serve on our editorial board, this group is different in that they don't weigh in on editorials, but rather talk to us about some stories we might be missing in our community. As a result of our meetings, we've added a few new features to the Globe.
Not everyone reads the paper or the digital version of the paper in the same way. One of the members of our advisory board is a busy mom who reads the paper online throughout the week and settles down with the print product on Sunday. She suggested we do a wrapup of some of the top stories of the week. You can find "ICYMI (In Case You Missed It): Five top stories of the week" on page 3A each Sunday. From there, Joe Hadsall, our digital editor has developed a podcast based on the feature. It is posted to our website each Sunday. Our super busy readers can download it and listen to it while they are en route or just trying to multitask.
Another member of the board asked for an expanded books page in our Sunday paper. We are working on providing several book reviews as well as news of coming releases.
A newspaper's main responsibility is and always will be to hold elected and public officials accountable for their actions and to keep an eye on the way taxpayers' money is being spent.
But it's also our job to hold ourselves accountable. And that should be important to you because most of the original reporting being done — and by original, I mean the kind that takes a reporter out into the community and away from their computers so they can talk to real people — comes from newspaper newsrooms.
This advisory board will serve throughout 2019. If you have additional questions about its role or would be interested in being considered in the future, please give me a call. We are looking for a variety of ages and backgrounds. We are also interested in the different ways our readers consume the news.
Thank you to these volunteers who are now the first members of The Joplin Globe's Community Advisory Board.
Carol Stark is the editor of The Joplin Globe. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.