Archive for Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Column: News editor bids farewell

November 28, 2018

“It feels like a small town.”

When I first started my position as the news editor of the Shawnee Dispatch in April 2016, I was fascinated by this quote. The first few people I interviewed in Shawnee said this phrase, and nearly every single person I’ve interviewed since in the past two-and-a-half years has said it.

Earlier this year, when a reporter friend asked me what made Shawnee stand out in the Kansas City area, I replied without thinking, “It feels like a small town.”

And you know what? I really do believe it.

With the city’s unique history, family-friendly events and community spirit, Shawnee offers midwestern Americana nestled in the suburbs.

It was only fitting that Shawnee would have its own community newspaper.

City government stories, human interest features and police reports graced its pages year after year.

But a newspaper is a business. With declining ad revenue, the Dispatch couldn’t survive.

This is the last print issue of the Dispatch. With the newspaper shutting down, it will no longer have an online presence either.

I am honored to be a part of the newspaper’s 16-year history.

As the Dispatch news editor, there are a few people I would like to thank.

I want to thank Lawrence Journal-World editor Chad Lawhorn for seeing potential in me and offering his guidance whenever it was needed.

Mike Frizzell of Operation 100 News has been a valuable reporting partner to the Dispatch and I’ve greatly appreciated his time, dedication, work and passion.

I’m extremely grateful for the hard work put forth by our former sports reporter Chris Duderstadt. His in-depth coverage of local high school sports—from golf to football—was phenomenal.

I’d like to thank Peter Steimle for putting his heart and soul into Dispatch advertising and job fairs, and Derek Skillett for enthusiastically providing freelance sports coverage in the past few months.

I’d also like to thank our Automotive Adviser columnists Scott and Tammie Green for providing Dispatch readers with valuable tips and advice, as well as our opinion columnist Marty Augustine for his thoughtful insight.

The Dispatch may be going away, but please don’t give up on community news. It’s far too important.

For Shawnee-specific news, I encourage you to read the Shawnee Mission Post, an online news source covering the entire footprint of the Shawnee Mission School District. The Kansas City Star also covers Shawnee-related news, making it a good resource as well.

More importantly, I encourage you to pay attention to what is going on in Shawnee. I understand most people don’t have time to attend every single city council meeting. However, there are other ways to be in the know.

Shawnee city council meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of the month in the city council chambers inside City Hall, 111100 Johnson Drive.

These meetings, along with select others, are streamed online live at the city’s website, cityofshawnee.org.

You can find city council, council committee and planning commission meeting agendas on the city’s website as well.

Or, go to the city’s website and sign up to receive e-mail notifications for city council agendas.

It only takes a few minutes to skim each agenda, to see what the council or planning commission will be voting on or considering each week.

A while ago, a Shawnee photographer I interviewed said she believes everyone should learn more about city government because “even if you don’t think it affects you, it really does.”

And I couldn’t agree more.

On that note, I bid you farewell.

Thank you for 16 years of readership and support.

Every single e-mail, news tip, letter to the editor, social media comment and phone call from our readers—whether positive or negative—has been meaningful. It shows many of you care about what goes on in your community.

And that, dear reader, is what truly helps give Shawnee its “small town feel.”

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