The recent news that the town”s newspaper, The Fairfield Bay News, was about to be dispatched into obscurity like so many other worthy publications such as Life Magazine. There was something I as one person could do to stave off this calamity. As many of you – perhaps a number reaching as high as a dozen or so – may remember the many memorable columns I wrote for our newspaper during the years between 1998 and 2005. The Pulitzer Prize was often mentioned in the same breath as my column. Praysing my words as having great wit, wisdom and occasional hilarious humor.
Advertisers often insisted that their ads be run only if my column was going to be in the same issue. Letters to the Editors in response to my columns also created much interest for the readers. To make a long story short, my column was an essential pillar in maintaing the ongoing existence of the Fairfield Bay News. When I “retired” my column in May of 2006, the newspaper’s circulation began its long descent to the point of where it is today – hanging on by a thread. Need I say more! With the Editor-in-Chief, Dan Feuer, pleading on his bended knees, I agreed to resurrect my column “OUT OF BOUNDS” and he promised that he would publish every submitted column on a timely basis.
The reason for my “retirement” back in 2005 was that my submitted columns were not being published on a timely basis and thus I lost my writing rhythm and enthusiasm for writing the column. I was allowed to quietly fade away like an old soldier, leaving the readers with a vague sense of loss. Little did they know that the remaining “news” – which consisted of the latest going-ons at the various sororities, obituaries, golf scores, what’s for lunch at the Senior Citizen Center, optimistic statements from the Community Club directors, pictures of our mayor receiving grants and giving money away, Lions and Rotary reports, Police Dept. summaries, etc. would morph into a weekly reprinting of the same old, boring stuff. If you read one week’s paper, you have read them all. The time spent on “reading” the paper was reduced to nanoseconds.
Obviously, much of what I have written here is over-the-top. But it is only to make the point that the FFB News needs readable and interesting content to survive. I do believe that a community newspaper is a very desirable and valuable part of a community’s social fabric. The standard community “news” is good, but if that is all there is, it is not enough to sustain interest and survivability. And so, I am committing to write a weekly column along the lines I have done in the past.
Some folks liked them, but some did not. But one way or the other, it did add to the readership of the paper. But more than just my column but I am challenging our entire community to take up pen and ink and submit columns, cartoons, poems, stories – anything that goes beyond mundane day to day stuff and that which rises from the incredible creative minds that live right here in the Bay. Trust me – people will read your stuff and you will have helped in saving ourtown’s newspaper!
Hard to do? No. Most everyone has access to a computer which makes writing very easy. No correction tape, no carbons, no ink, cheap paper, programs that correct the spelling and the grammar, that provide alternative vocabularies, the very available internet which gives you access to ideas and facts to buttress your work. AND P.S: There are NO dumb ideas. I know!
Finally, after you have created your document, simply e-mail it to: “firstname.lastname@example.org”. I
f you like, attach a photo to go along with your item, especially if you plan to submit an item on a regular basis. Dan Feuer is a great guy and fun to work with. You won’t be disappointed. Convert your document to rif. And bingo it will go.
NEXT WEEK: HOW TO WRITE A GREAT COLUMN