By Susan Condon Love / Columnist
For three decades, I’ve had the privilege of working at newspapers. It’s a profession that I fell in love with when I was still in grade school, working on the newsletter for St. Angela Merici elementary school in Fairview Park. Following stints on my high school newspaper and The Lantern newspaper at The Ohio State University, I was lucky enough to land my first reporting position in Southern California – the Escondido Times-Advocate.
Throw in newspaper jobs in Nevada, Georgia and Maryland, and in the mid 1990s, Ohio when I finally came home to work at The Plain Dealer. After nearly 17 years there, and a brief excursion into communications, I was lucky to become managing editor this past spring for the three West Side newspapers – West Life, The Press (Avon/Avon Lake/Sheffield), and The North Ridgeville Press.
After so many years in journalism, my mind focuses on “regional” journalism, or stories that while happening in one community, have impact in the surrounding communities or cities. I live by the simple premise that if a story has interest beyond city borders, readers will enjoy them. To a very large extent, that is what I have encountered at these three newspapers and their hard-working, dedicated staff writers and editors. But I received a few emails that give me pause. Those communications have been both angry and plaintive. But their message is identical – why am I reading about XX community when I live in YY community?
At first, I was taken aback by the issue. News doesn’t have borders. If there are burglaries in one community, the thieves don’t stop once they hit a street that might be in another city. A story about a wonderful student, whose accomplishments astound and have a rippling impact among his or her peers, is just as moving to read about for one person as it should be for a neighbor across “the line.”
What if The Plain Dealer only ran stories about Cleveland? Or the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram only wrote about Elyria? Or the Akron Beacon Journal stopped their stories at the Akron border?
We live in a connected world – and I’m not talking about the internet revolution. We’ve always lived in a community based world. We are not going to cut off stories from one publication to another because technically it’s in another city. That said, we are acutely aware that certain stories such as local elections are of interest only to one city’s residents. Those should not be found in another publication. And we will always make sure our reporters track the news and people of their assigned cities over another city’s stories.
We love Northeast Ohio and the West Side communities under our purview. We promise to track down the interesting events, people and entertainment – and politics! – and offer them up for your perusal. We ask that you understand that we know there are borders, but we aren’t always constrained by those city lines. We are Northeast Ohioans. And boy, is there a bunch of stories for us to report.
What do you want to see? Only stories in your community or from across the West Side? I would love to hear from you!
And, of course, thank you for your support and readership.