Two Cents Worth – Sept 16, 2015

You may have noticed that we have added another person to the O’Fallon Weekly team this week. Angela Simmons has come aboard as our Shiloh area reporter.

Angela first reached out to us about two weeks ago inquiring if the position was still available. She indicated in her email that she had written for the student newspaper at UMSL and that she was looking to flex those muscles again. We met and talked for a while, getting to know each other as best you can at a restaurant for an hour and a half, and by the time we left she was one of the crew.

My wife, who is in HR, probably would hate me for saying this but I’m a big believer in going with my gut when dealing with a person. Oh sure, I want to see writing samples and maybe a resume, but for the most part the most important thing to me is if we can sit for a while and actually have a decent conversation. I figure if a person can’t talk with another person for a little while, how are they going to develop relationships to get story tips and information? How will they build a rapport with government officials and community leaders? Being able to converse is a pretty important skill to have when trying to gather the news.

I had the same experience with Nathan, our sports editor. When we met it was a very casual conversation, starting out with what he was looking for and what I was looking for. But before long we were talking about all sorts of things and I knew he’d be able to interact with coaches, players, and even parents to do the job that needed to be done.
Since that evening, Angela and I have obviously spoken more and begun to get to know each other a bit. I’m actually pretty excited that we’re having a news team get together this week. It’ll be the first time that the editorial side of the paper is all together and can sit around and interact with one another. The internet and email are wonderful tools that allows us to do our jobs independently of one another very well, but that also means we have to make time to meet in person. Otherwise we find that time slips by quickly and it could have been weeks or months since we last spoke in person.

Part of the whole game is just trying to find time to interact when we can. For example, I plan on popping by the Panthers football game this Friday evening. I don’t need to, Nathan has the game covered well and has everything under control. But its a convenient excuse to circle up and add a bit of personal, human interaction into this job.
We’re unique from a lot of newspapers in that we don’t have a centralized newsroom. There’s no one office where we all reconvene from a day’s worth of reporting to share stories and goof around. We don’t have that for a variety of reasons that I won’t get into here today, but I will say that there are times that I wouldn’t mind having the camaraderie that would come with a home base. But all good things come to those who wait I suppose.

But anyway, our little news team continues to grow and I think its exciting. If you live in Shiloh and have a story suggestion for Angela, shoot her an email at angela@OFallonWeekly.com. She’d love to hear from you.