Letter from the editor
“The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control.” – Epictetus, Discourses
I saw this quote twice over the New Year’s break, and it made me reevaluate how I’m going to approach this year.
There are a lot of things I can’t control at LPR right now. I can’t control the fact that several major advertisers and a few small ones left in 2020.
I can’t control the fact that COVID forced the cancellation of all the major festivals last year, leaving us unable to produce our special inserts that bring us the majority of our revenue for the year.
But as the executive in charge of the editorial department, I do control our editorial content. I control what stories we write about, the angle of that coverage, and how it’s laid out in the paper. I view that as a blessing and a huge responsibility.
I’ve developed editorial plans several times in my career. I thought about unveiling a huge plan for LPR and in a Jerry McGuire moment ask, “who’s coming with me?”
But this is a community newspaper. As I said in my Dec. 17, 2020 column, I work for you. I can put things in the paper I find interesting, or want to see reported out, and even win awards doing it. But if it’s not what this community finds important and wants to read, then I’ve failed.
I’d like to open a conversation with you the citizens of Caldwell County. How can the Lockhart Post-Register become relevant to you again? How should LPR cover the community we live in? What type of community-level information do you need that you aren’t getting from other sources?
We will always cover every Lockhart City Council, Caldwell County Commissioners Court, and LISD School Board meeting. And I’m pretty good at sniffing out the most important news stories and giving them to you.
But are there things from those meetings I’m not reporting on that you want to see? Are there other meetings you feel I should be covering? Did you have questions of your elected officials you want me to ask?
I am the first to admit that we need to get better about publishing news and information to the web, because let’s face it: you read the news more than once per week. I’m eager to publish more frequently to the web, but what Caldwell County news do you want to see? Is it LISD related? Business? Development? Crime? Weather? Photo galleries? Event listings?
COVID is a news story that will continue to be with us for 2021. It’s an all-consuming storyline, and truthfully, I’ve found myself struggling to cover it. I’ve printed case counts and a weekly update. But it feels pretty bland and lacks local interest.
What do you want to know? I believe without context case and death numbers can be very misleading and fear-inducing. But do you find it useful? Do you want personal stories? I’ve seen heart wrenching stories published nationwide, but I find myself asking if that’s indicative of the majority, or just a great story. What can I report on that will be useful for you and your family to feel safe and informed?
Development is coming to Lockhart, and the county at large. It is poised to be a boon for the local economy. But we can look to our neighbors in Bastrop, and every used-to-be-small town north of Austin to see the issues growth can bring to once-rural communities.
As I mentioned in that Dec. 17 column, I’m not a superhero. I can’t make growth in our community stress-free. But I can ask hard questions of elected officials and those in charge of making decisions that will have long-term impacts on our community.
What do you want me to ask them? What issues did you see in other communities that you don’t want to see here?
Email me, call me, send a message or post on LPR’s social media accounts. I’d love to even get a good old fashioned hand-written letter. I look forward to hearing how I can earn your readership in 2021.
Kristen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 512-398-4886.