Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Moving on from the Kuna Melba News
Next week will be my final week as editor of the Kuna Melba News. I will be leaving the paper at the end of the month, after five-and-a-half years as editor. I wanted to get ahead of the rumor mill on this one. When Nicola and I sold the Kuna Melba News to RIM Publications on Dec. 1, 2011, I agreed to stay on as editor for six months to help with the transition. Those six months are up, and it’s time for me to move on. I am not being forced out or fired or quitting in disgust or disgrace. I actually heard from a couple of people that they thought that Nicola had been fired or forced out when she left the paper in February. They didn’t stop to think, though, that people who are fired or forced out don’t usually have another job lined up ready and waiting for them. No, Nicola simply found another career opportunity and was ready to move on. As for me, I will be taking the summer off, spending some time with my two favorite boys, Luke and Robert, and writing a book about my experience of buying and running a weekly newspaper. My book will be mostly personal memoir and partially commentary on the state of newspapers following what I consider a historically transformational 10-year period for our much-maligned industry. The sale of the newspaper has provided me with an incredible opportunity to pursue what I’ve always wanted to pursue, which is to write books. I will keep you posted on my progress, but you can also follow me at writerscottmcintosh.blogspot.com, where I’ll be writing regular updates about the process and my book. As for the paper, Laura Colvin, who was hired as a reporter in January, will become the editor. As you may have noticed, Laura “gets” community journalism. She writes about the Melba supplemental levy one minute and turns around and covers the Melba softball team the next. She knows just as well how to write a City Council story as she does a feature about a 70-year wedding anniversary. She’s a great feature writer, and in case you didn’t notice, she’s a heck of a lot better photographer than I’ll ever be. I leave the paper in good hands. I know the sale of the newspaper is still a bit of a mystery to some people, so I’ll do my best to dispel some of the myths and rumors. The Kuna Melba News, from day one, has been in great financial shape and continues to be in excellent financial shape. Nicola and I did not sell the paper because we “had to.” RIM made us an offer we simply found too difficult to decline. But we also felt that we had taken the paper as far as we could take it. I couldn’t cover any more meetings. I couldn’t go to any more sporting events than I was already going to. I couldn’t write any additional feature stories or investigative stories than I was already writing. Even if I could, we couldn’t add any more pages to the paper without hurting the business financially. After three years of nearly tripling our circulation, we hit a ceiling that we just couldn’t break through. It became clear that someone else would need to take the paper to the next level, just as we had done when we bought the paper in 2006. Already, RIM has improved the paper, adding pages and adding staff, providing computer equipment and software to improve efficiencies, opening a satellite office in Melba. I’m extremely proud of what Nicola and I accomplished. In terms of quality, the Kuna Melba News has far exceeded even what I imagined when we first started. I never imagined winning seven state awards and six national awards in one year alone. It’s been a good run, and I’m looking forward to watching the Kuna Melba News move to the next level.