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Help us be a better newspaper

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By Bryan Marshall

 

We need your help.

I see the Grant County News as a community newspaper.

The definition of that, in my mind, is two-fold.

First, we strive to cover this community like no other publication or TV station.

Sure, the bigger staffed media outlets may trot down I-75 south to Grant County when a big story comes along.

But, will they be there when a local business opens its doors and is looking for the support of residents?

Will they show up at local schools almost daily to shoot candid photos of young students working on a class project or performing in a play?

Will they make it out to city council and other government meetings when a tax rate hike is on the table?

I would say no to all three questions.

On the flip side, I think we are a community newspaper because the community has an opportunity to have a hand in what is printed.

From submitting birth and anniversary announcements to events in the community calendar, we try to put in reader-submitted news all the time.

We have a stack of photos residents have given us just for our Another Place In Time and Where in the World? features alone.

Throughout the year, there are also countless number of times where we attempt to illicit responses from readers on a variety of topics or ask for submitted photos.

Unfortunately, this has been an area that has not been as successful as we have hoped.

Whether through ads in the paper or posts on our Facebook page (yes, we have a Facebook page. Please go there and LIKE us.), we have pleaded for submissions for several features we would like to share with others in the paper.

While there has been some limited responses, most of our pleas fall flat.

For example, we thought we came up with a new idea that people would enjoy for the holidays this year.

Readers would simply drop off, e-mail or call in a favorite family recipe for a contest. We even took flyers to local schools to get teachers involved.

A group of finalist in several categories (appetizer, dessert, entree, etc.) would then be chosen to cook their dish for a panel of judges.

Everybody knows at least one recipe of either their own or handed down from their parents or grandparents. 

However, we only received a handful of entries, making the contest not as big or as good as we hoped.

Hopefully, next year we can get the word out earlier and a bigger turnout will make the idea a success.

The submissions for Letters to Santa were down dramatically this year as well, especially in the schools.

The main reason behind that maybe our decision to require teachers to e-mail the letters, but there was just no realistic way we could continue typing every letter, along with scanning photos of each student.

When we got our first snow of the season, we asked readers on Facebook to send in some of their best snow pictures.

I know that families build snowmen, make snow angels, sled ride and act like kids in the snow.

We received only a handful of photos via e-mail.

I don’t know if it’s miscommunication, we’re not getting the message out properly or people simply do not care, but I know the paper can only benefit from reader input.

I ask, scratch that, I beg that when you are reading the paper or are on Facebook, look to see what kinds of things we are looking for that particular week to see if you can engage with the newspaper and the community by participating.

It may be as easy as giving your opinion on a local issue or clicking send on your e-mail to share a funny or interesting photo.

I have always believed that everyone has a story.

Without your help, we can’t help share your story or your opinions.

The latest feature we are gearing up for our annual Special Valentine section.

With each year, we have received less and less nominations, but I challenge you to make this the best year yet.

The Grant County News wants to hear about someone special in your life, whether it’s your spouse, significant other, sibling, neighbor, co-worker, best friend or grandparent.

You can submit a nomination letter to the Grant County News by mail at: Special Valentines, P.O. Box 247, Williamstown, KY 41097, by e-mail to bmarshall@grantky.com, by fax to 859-824-5888 or drop it off to our office at 129 S. Main, Suite B (Hogan’s Mill Subdivision) in Dry Ridge.

Be sure to include your name and phone number as well as your special someone’s name, address and phone number.

Tell us what makes them so great and why they should be chosen as one of this year’s Special Valentines.

The deadline to submit nominations is 5 p.m. Feb. 5.

The nominations chosen will be contacted in order to have their photo taken with their special someone and their letter will be published in the Feb. 13 issue of The Grant County News.

Thanks for helping to make us a great community newspaper and be sure to LIKE us on Facebook and read each week for more exciting features.

(Bryan Marshall is the staff writer of The Grant County News. He can be reach at bmarshall@grantky.com.)