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Anatomy of the LaFollette Press

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By Brent Schanding

Lately, I’ve been hearing from readers about changes we continue to implement at the LaFollette Press. You’ve told me you like some, hate others and are largely indifferent to many.

Some have suggested additional changes.

Positive or negative, thanks for your feedback.

So why the changes? In short, our community is always evolving; therefore our publication must evolve, too.

Don’t get us wrong.

The LaFollette Press began in 1909 and has a long history of covering the news, sports and community events in Campbell County better than any other local media outlet. That’s one thing that will never change.

But the approach the Press takes to covering and disseminating these events will — and must — be progressive.

For those uncomfortable with change, here’s some reassurance: We’re not cutting corners.

In fact, several months ago, the Press expanded to include more news, sports and features. Most readers tell us they’re enjoying the extra coverage — although we hear you’re definitely interested in seeing more sports coverage of youth leagues and other recreational activities in the community.

We’re working on it.

We’re also working to add a consistent Community section in the paper that’s devoted to more photos and other light-hearted news that might otherwise escape our radar. We’re asking readers to submit photos and any info you’d like to see in this section. As its name suggests, the Community section will be a reflection of our community — including those who participate in civic clubs, after-school activities and church youth groups. To submit information, email stories@lafollettepress.com, call 562-8468 or stop by our office at 225 N. First St., in LaFollette.

.COM/WEBSITE

For our web users at www.lafollettepress.com: if you haven’t noticed already, you’ll find a more visually appealing site that’s updated more frequently. While some have texted or emailed me about the sometimes frequent delay of our e-editions, please bear with us as we work out a few kinks.

Here’s the good news: Access to our website is free with a paid print subscription. If you’re not a subscriber, I urge you to consider it. A username and password is required and you can pay directly online. For our non-subscribing readers who prefer to pick up their LaFollette Press fresh off the rack, you can still enjoy limited free access to some features on our website — including photo slideshows.

And for those who read the LaFollette Press on their smartphones and tablet devices, I hope you’re enjoying our new and improved mobile site. Our recently redesigned mobile site should make it easier to fit all the news from Campbell County in one simple mobile platform.

To get snippets of headlines and the most up-to-date briefings follow us on Facebook. There, you’ll find a community of more than 3,100 others who actively engage with each other.

WHERE ARE THE RECORDS?

Lastly, many have complained about the new format of our public records. In the past, marriages, property transfers, arrests and other such listings had been published on one page.

All of these records are still in the paper, but no longer are they grouped under one heading and called Records.

Instead, we’ve divided them into topical sections based on their relevance. For example, jail logs are now printed alongside stories related to crime and public safety. (They usually appear on page 4A and we now post them online daily.) Marriages appear on the Lifestyles page alongside wedding announcements and other milestone events. Property transfers and real estate transactions are printed on our Business page. The good part? Since the information is divvied on various pages, couples no longer have to fight over who reads the Records page first. My biggest hope is that readers will scan other pages to expand their horizons.

And that brings me to my next point. This year, the LaFollette Press is resolving more than ever to engage the community and expand its horizons. We’ll be addressing sensitive topics and aiming to provide a solution to them. Improving education, creating jobs, reducing poverty — we want to start a dialogue that inspires change in our community.

How can you help? Write us. Call us. Stop by and see us. Tell us about community problems and issues and successes.

Brent Schanding is the editor of the LaFollette Press. To contact him, email bschanding@lafollettepress.com, call 562-8468 or write 225 N. First St., LaFollette, TN. 37766.