“Stay Connected With Your Community” is the theme of the subscription campaign the Mirror-Reporter kicked off last week. One of the ways we try to keep you connected, is by calling upon the talents and interests of the people who put this publication together for you each week.
Six persons are responsible for preparing the content and getting the Mirror-Reporter off to press each week. After it is printed in Hampton, which is home base for Mid-America Publishing which owns the newspaper, our driver, Gary Thoms, brings the paper to Clear Lake and delivers it to the Post Office, as well as various outlets for sales.
Mirror-Reporter staff members represent 96 years of experience in the newspaper industry, with 93 of those specifically at this community newspaper. With four members spending more than a decade here, you know it has been a labor a love to not only report on this community, but be involved in it. We believe that involvement has been key to our success.
A recent addition to our news team is Katie (Cash) Behr, who graduated from Clear Lake High School in 2012. While in high school she was active in vocal music, drum major of the marching band and participated in theater, speech contest, and cross-country. Today you can find her behind the desk at the Mirror-Reporter as the office assistant, helping you with subscriptions, copies, laminating, and other odds and ends. She also formats the legal notices and is the face of city wide garage sale pages. When she isn’t working she is chasing her two little kiddos and riding horses.
Katie joins Michelle Watson as a voice for agricultural issues on our newspaper staff. Michelle, a 17-year member of the staff, also provides insight into the local church and club news, and like other staff members has had children involved in both school and extra-curricular activities.
Although he is usually behind the camera, our photographer Chris Barragy, is a face of the paper. For over a decade he has been attending sporting, entertainment and news events. He captures the moments in time with outstanding photos which we enjoy sharing with you each week.
Sales representative Ashley Billings, is our newest staff member. Ashley is also a CLHS graduate and who has chosen to stay connected to her hometown. She is in the process of introducing herself to businesses and explaining how the Mirror-Reporter can boost their visibility in the community.
Kathleen Thul and I have each worked at the Mirror-Reporter for more than 30-years. Like the others, we have been involved in school activities, organizations, fund drives and much, much more. Kathleen, who serves as our production manager, works closely with businesses to design effective ways to share their messages. As a longtime Clear Lake resident, that’s an area where she can provide real insight.
I have been the editor of the Mirror-Reporter since 1983. Former newspaper owners Mike Finnegan and Dave Pressler took a chance on me before I even graduated from Iowa State University. For a few weeks I shuttled between school and the newspaper, learning on both ends of the trips. It was never my intention to stay beyond a few years, during which I thought I would be able to narrow down the aspects of the newspaper business I liked best, and then pursue that dream somewhere bigger and better.
Certainly there are bigger newspapers, but finding better is a tall order. Turns out that what I like best is community journalism. It’s reporting on people and teams who exceed all expectations and find ways to win. It’s witnessing first hand the courage of a Make-A-Wish recipient, or seeing your community shine when a national spotlight is shined upon it. It is volunteers who do not hesitate to take a day off work so that they can help a neighbor who can’t get his crops out of the field, or a neighboring community cleanup after a devastating tornado. It is an honor to report on heroic efforts to save historic pieces of our community, not to mention our lake.
In its almost 150-year history, the Clear Lake Mirror-Reporter has shared thousands of stories that inspire, inform and provoke thought. To host conversation and dialogue on so many issues is a daunting, but rewarding, task. Providing a platform for people to express opinions and offer solutions is what any media organization sets out to do, and we try our best to do just that.
We invite you to stay connected with your community with a subscription to the Mirror-Reporter. See page 10A in today’s paper for our special offer.