Big ideas from big city
I am not wired for the big city. After growing up on a farm, I spent 4 years in DeKalb and then headed back to a more rural setting.
Since then, I’ve accepted that I feel more comfortable living near Coleta than I ever would driving through Chicago.
Nevertheless, I sometimes take a rare excursion to the concrete-laden superstructures that dot the landscape.
I spent a day in New York in the spring for fun, and I spent 4 days in Chicago last week for work.
The thing about excursions away from your comfort zone is that you learn about yourself.
Last week, I walked the streets of Chicago on my way back from a watering hole and listened to a city still very much alive despite the late hour. I knew I might never do something like that again.
This latest trip was also a learning experience for work.
Last February, the Sauk Valley Media sports department won two Top 10 awards for papers with under 30,000 circulations from the Associated Press Sports Editors. We won in the special section and Sunday section categories.
Thanks to those awards, I had two very good reasons to attend the APSE summer conference last week in Chicago.
For those 4 days, I sat through workshops and discussions, culminating with the awards banquet on Saturday night.
I met a sports editor that had just won a Pulitzer Prize, I saw Jesse Jackson outside of Gibson’s Steakhouse, and I caught up with former SVM sports editors Paul Skrbina and Will Larkin, who now both work at the Chicago Tribune.
Most of all, I picked up tips on improving our section. Some of them you’ll see reflected on the pages in the coming days and weeks. Some are small things in design that make a story or photo pop off the page.
Other tips came in writing and reporting stories. One reporter talked about filling up a room of his house with boxes packed with legal documents as he investigated what turned into the University of Miami football scandal last year.
My colleagues around the country provided tips on how I, a new editor, can get the best work out of my staff, how to motivate them, how to correct them, and even how to congratulate them on a job well done.
The end goal is better journalism that leads to a better product.
That leads to the final and most important bit of advice from my new friends involved in APSE.
I’ve heard from the experts, now I need to go back to our small little town and listen to you.
For we can do a lot of things, but it’s the folks reading who know what they want to see.
So please, tell me what you’d like to see more of in these pages, and I’ll do everything I can to accommodate that.
If we do, I’ll bring home more plaques next summer from Detroit.
More Local News
- Rock Falls’ Giddings mows down Duchesses
- Oregon battery sparks underdog Hawks past Panthers
- Adolph, Bush too much for Clippers
- Crist shuts out Cougars
- Sportshorts for Thursday, May 23, 2013