Michael Bennett: Many changes mean additional local newsPublished 9:43pm Wednesday, June 20, 2012
The number of changes we have put our readers through at the Daily News in recent months have been unsettling to some and appreciated by most of our readers.
I’m the guy who has to take responsibility for many of the decisions, including the change in the format and moving John Eby to Niles, where he now covers Niles, Dowagiac and Edwardsburg with the help of his five other friends in the newsroom.
All it takes is one person to call and tell me and say, “I hate what you have done with our newspaper.”
We are here to be good community members and constantly improve what we do. I thought it was time to step back and provide some rationale to our decisions.
One common complaint is that we took “Dowagiac” out of the name of the newspaper. Truth be told, Dowagiac has not been in the name for years, maybe decades.
John himself can’t recall when we were called the Dowagiac Daily News.
Underneath The Daily News on the front page it has read “Serving Dowagiac” for some time now.
We did change that line to read “Serving Dowagiac, Cassopolis and Sister Lakes.”
We made this move for a couple of reasons. Sister Lakes is considered to be a part of Dowagiac.
Cassopolis is somewhat tied in with Dowagiac and John has been challenged to find enough good Dowagiac stories to fill the pages.
We figured local news would be better received than the press releases we used to fill the pages with in the past from around the state.
I’ve been really surprised to hear from some readers that we are not covering Dowagiac nearly as much as we have done in the recent past.
I dusted off copies of the Daily News from last year to audit how we actually have done and I was pleased with the numbers.
Compared to the same week last year, the newspapers from last week had 21 local main news stories written by our staff compared to just 10 last year.
John wrote seven of the stories this year compared to eight last year.
John has not left you; he is a key part of what we do in Dowagiac.
Of the 21 stories this year 12 were written about Dowagiac — twice as many as we wrote last year.
Last year, the two stories not about Dowagiac were written about Buchanan. This year those nine stores not directly Dowagiac related were regarding Cass County and Cassopolis.
It is impossible for John to cover and build the Daily News by himself along with sports assistance from longtime staffer Scott Novak.
By sharing our newsroom of six people with all Leader Publications, the Daily News has far more support than ever.
And John is a happier guy. John actually has other human beings to work with in our Niles office.
He shared the old Dowagiac office with raccoons and they were not very talkative except in the wee hours of the night.
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