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From the General Manager: The Mail grows by four

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Community newspapers are not new to me. I have been in the business of community media for almost 30 years. Of that, 15 years have been spent in small Missouri newspapers. I am proud to have been a part of those communities, and even more, I cherish the times I have spent in each community. From one end of Missouri to the other, I've put down roots, raised a family, made lifelong friends, built my own business, invested in community and captained several great ships of recordkeeping that we call community newspapers. I've found the best compass for sailing those ships is by understanding each newspaper should be a true representative of the community it serves. Webster County, this is your newspaper, and I want The Marshfield Mail to honestly represent your views, opinions and standards. I want to hear your opinions … all of them. On some we will agree, some we will not. But you have my word that this newspaper will do our best to honor both.

Are newspapers a business like any other? Yes. However, our local papers are also the timekeepers of our small communities. They are an important voice to readers about local events, people and topics that inform, entertain and instruct. Above all, our small newspapers are, ideally, of important interest the people who pick up those pages every week to read what is within. No other media will ever bring such micro-coverage of local government, important issues, school news, interest stories, community events or the honoring of a hometown hero like your hometown paper — unless of course there is a chance for sensational hype and a few extra ratings (or readers). Then, they swoop in, grab the news that fits an agenda and leave again, often with little thought of what their presence has stirred.

I was excited when I was asked to become a part of the team here at Webster County’s The Marshfield Mail. In fact, it was with a heavy but proud heart that I just recently stepped into the general manager role here. I witnessed firsthand how this community surrounded a local, fallen hero and his family as the Marshfield community put another page into their own history. The community moved like a well-oiled machine, as citizens embraced a family, organized a moving tribute to Officer Justin Burney on the Spur and mourned, all at once. The processional was beautiful, and the sense of community is one I hope each of you is proud of. I know I am, and I am the new kid on the block. In a time when the world is watching as other communities are torn apart by violence, fear tactics, misguided information and a wavering moral compass, this community put opposition aside and stood together — literally, in a show of unity for a fellow citizen. Marshfield only reiterated that my choice to become a part of this team, this community, was a good one.

I have not been here long, but since walking through the front doors, I've gotten to know our amazing staff: Bryan Everson, our sportswriter, who seems to be in multiple places at once. Sarah Bicknell, a staff writer who manages to find the great story in everything. Monica Stewart, one of our marketing consultants, who helps local businesses get their message out to our readers. And of course, Karen Keaton, who keeps us all in line, manages The Mail's business office, greets visitors with a smile and is kind enough to answer my incessant questions without throwing things at me.

I will be adding to the mix not only myself, but additional marketing consultants, so we can serve Webster County businesses even better than before. Also of note is the new hire of a young woman, whom I found to be infectious in her desire to be a part of and give back to her hometown. It did not take long in an interview with Ms. Shelby Atkison to see her enthusiasm at the chance to come home after pursuing her education and serve Marshfield in a career here at The Mail as our newest staff writer.

I invite you to stop in say hi, and to meet our staff, if you have not already. I look forward to meeting you, shaking your hand or bumping a fist (respectfully your choice) and learning more about Marshfield and the great communities and people of Webster County. This is your paper, Webster County. I will do my best to represent that, and you.

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