We are now in the fourth week of the expanded, new West Life. We merged our three papers — West Life, The Press and The North Ridgeville Press — into one entity that covers 12 West Side communities. So far, it seems as if people are loving it! Email, letter and phone responses have been about 95 percent positive, including comments such as “I lived in Fairview Park for 20 years and now in Avon Lake for 10. I love seeing stories from both cities.”
We’ve been beyond thrilled to get phone calls for subscription renewals and a fair number of new subscribers. That is almost unheard of these days.
In addition, we’ve been extremely fortunate to have picked up several brand-new (to us) and popular area writers who recently left the big metro (the paper-that-will-not-be-named? Oh heck. I’ll name it since it’s my alma mater, too: The Plain Dealer). James McCarty is writing his popular birding column, renamed Aerial View Redux, for us. Jim and I worked together for a dozen years at the PD, as he wrote the first version of the column for the section Inside&Out, of which I was the editor.
In addition, we are thrilled to add Michael Sangiacomo to our line of freelancers. He is well-known in Northeast Ohio (and probably beyond) for his entertainment reviews and his comic book column, as well as recent, insightful coverage of immigration. He will be working on stories in Avon, as well as continuing his reviews. Last week, we were lucky to get his preview of “Avengers: Endgame,” including comments from its creators, the Russo brothers. This week is his actual review of the box office-smashing hit.
Finally, we welcome popular writer Allison Carey, who will contribute features to West Life. For years, readers enjoyed her fashion and people features, and beautiful photography.
Of course, we still are lucky to have the talents of our longtime staff members Alison Stewart, Jeff Gallatin, Kathleen Webb, and sports writer Jack Kopanski, and the editing of talented wordsmiths John Kuehner and Molly Callahan (also former PDers).
For the most part, as I stated, our readers have welcomed the newly invigorated West Life. But there have been some unhappy people who do not want to read about any community other than their own. They miss their “personal” paper. I simply ask this: Give West Life a chance. Read it. Enjoy it. You might actually be interested in businesses, events or people outside your city borders.
To those few who call and say we have “nothing” about their communities, well, I have a plan. I’m going to start counting how many articles about their communities actually run. I was caught off-guard this week by a caller who claimed there was “only one” article about his city in the last three weeks. When I got off the phone, I counted. There had been nine (!!) stories about his city in just two weeks. Selective blindness is neither fair nor accurate.
So to all the naysayers — give us a chance! To those who can’t count — be warned. I’m keeping a weekly tally right next to my phone.
To everyone: Thank you for reading.
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