EDITOR’S CORNER: The primary challenge of going back for seconds
(Opinion by Miles Smith/LPR Editor)
It’s 2019, and it looks like I’m going back for seconds.
Normally, in January, seconds are the very thing most of us try to avoid as we try to undo the results of November and December’s gluttony. From a calorie consumption standpoint, I should certainly fall in that category if I’d like to maintain a curb weight lower than that of a 1988 Yugo.
Right now, neither one of us would pass inspection.
But that isn’t what I mean. I took over as this paper’s editor in December 2017, so I’ve been here just a little over a full year, and that means I’ll be covering a lot of events for the second time.
This has its challenges, believe me. It’s easy to cover something for the first time. It’s new to you, so it’s interesting by default. That level of interest and energy is often apparent in a new editor’s writing, as he tries out his one-liners, puns and double entendre on a brand-new audience who isn’t suspecting his tricks.
But year two is a whole different ball of wax. It’s great, because you know what’s coming up. You can plan for the next issue a lot better than you could the previous year. You know what to expect. There will be some wrinkles, but the year’s flow is going to closely resemble the previous one.
You just have to make sure you don’t shoot the same photos from the same angle as you did the year before, avoid writing exactly the same headlines, and steer clear of dialing up the same leads.
It’s possible to run out of puns.
I know an editor who’s used the headline “Quilty Pleasures” for a quilting competition photo no fewer than six times in as many newspapers (and I borrowed it at one point last year, too, if memory serves). And if I had $1 for every time I’ve written the punny headline “Oh, Deer” for a crash involving a car and one of Texas’s famous giant white-tailed vermin, I’d have conceivably as much as $7 provided the check I wrote to Jiffy Lube hasn’t cleared yet.
This is to say that maintaining originality from year to year is something of a feat in and of itself … especially when you continue to be the main editorial voice for a newspaper.
This whiny diatribe is actually meant to lead into a kudos of sorts.
Last year, the first big event I covered for the Post-Register was the Chamber of Commerce annual banquet. It was a first for its new CEO Christie Pruitt. They went back to their boots, moving it to Dale from San Marcos and encouraging people to leave their neckties at home. It was a largely light-hearted fun event and a pretty good place for me to get my feet wet.
Because it worked, no one would have faulted the Chamber if they’d followed exactly the same format, but they didn’t.
Somehow, this year’s event was better. They added a silent auction. No buffet lines … the food was brought around to the tables, and the meat was upgraded to beef tenderloin, a few cuts above last year’s flank steak. Categorized spirit awards were added to give more people, businesses and organizations a fair shot at recognition.
The MLK march was the second event I covered in Lockhart in 2018. I covered this year’s event on Monday, and again, it improved from the previous year. Last year’s presentation was out in the wind by City Hall. This year’s speeches were indoors, and local authors read to the children … a nice touch.
The Humanitarian Award went to Sheila Henderson, an athletic director who’s shown a level of warmth and support to Lockhart ISD’s students unlike anything I’ve ever seen from anyone in her position.
Congratulations to the organizers of these events on a job well done.
It may sound like I’m fawning, but I believe the praise is well deserved.