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Opinion :: A Challenge to The Other Guys
· 3:45pm October 11th, 2013
Two months ago, the phone rang.
“I am calling about your job opening for an editor,” said the man on the other line, a journalist from the Green Bay area.
You have the wrong number, I replied.
I knew right away why he was calling.
The Other Guys were looking for someone to do the job I used to do for them.
For those of you unfamiliar with Vinton or Vinton Today, let me explain my history with The Other Guys.
The Other Guys hired me in late February of 2003. I worked there until 2008, when I began working at the newest newspaper in Vinton, the Vinton Eagle. About a year and a half later – March 1, 2010, to be precise, The Other Guys announced that they had bought the Eagle and invited me to rejoin them.
Instead, we embarked on this Vinton Today journey. It was – and still is – a very unique adventure. We are still the only online-only newspaper in Iowa.
Despite the fact that we are pioneers in this field and despite the fact that many people even in 2010 told us, “But we don’t have Internet,” we continued to grow.
Now, we are averaging 9,000 page views every day. Most days we are over 10,000. And if something happens that has everyone talking, that number increases to 15,000 or more. On two consecutive days during the Iowa State Fair, we surpassed 22,000, mostly due to our column about the vandalism to the butter cow, which people shared all over Iowa.
And many of the people who told us in 2010 that they did not have Internet have joined us. Many even send us email about their events and activities.
One of the side effects of this success is that if people Google “Vinton Newspapers” they see instead: Vinton Today. Then they think we are The Other Guys. I have passed on messages and even mail sent to Vinton Today that was meant for The Other Guys.
Despite the fact that I have not been the No. 1 fan of The Other Guys, I have always gotten along with the other editors who worked in my old job. I have even invited them to join me in covering certain stories, introduced them to local news-makers, and given them directions to the nearest ice cream outlets.
Since we began Vinton Today, the Other Guys have had three editors.
I have been waiting to extend the same courtesies to Editor No. 4.
I am still waiting, and the waiting is making me grumpy.
I am tired of looking at the front page of the “Vinton Newspapers” on Tuesdays and Fridays and seeing press releases from as far away as Des Moines, and stories we had already put on Vinton Today days or even weeks earlier. I want to look at what people call my competition and say, “Wow! Why didn’t I know that?” or “How did they get that story?”
But, I don’t.
I can’t, because Nobody can’t do it.
And since August, Nobody has been sitting in that editor’s chair.
I don’t know what the deal is.
The phone call I received indicates that Somebody wants the job. But Nobody is doing it.
Nobody can’t write. Nobody can’t take photos. Nobody can’t challenge me to be better by being great at covering local news.
I know that The Other Guys know that Nobody for Editor is not an option. Their owner is legendary in Chicago for saving and reviving the Sun-Times. And their regional managing editor is a journalism professor.
So, I ask: What’s the deal?
Perhaps, Nobody knows.
Perhaps The Other Guys think that they don’t have to cover the news – as crazy as that sounds – because I am doing it.
Perhaps the dude from Green Bay is waiting for the Packers to finish their season, and will arrive as Editor Somebody as soon as the Pack loses to Denver in the Super Bowl.
Perhaps they hired The Invisible Man.
Perhaps they have hired someone I have not yet met.
I do not know.
To The Other Guys, I say: If you’re waiting for me, thanks I am quite flattered, but I already have a job I love and have no plans to leave. Ever.
So just hurry up and hire Somebody, already.
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