This issue of the Douglas County Herald is special. It contains the annual Christmas section highlighting local businesses expressing Christmas cheer and holiday wishes to our readers.
The section is truly unique this year as many of the ads are in color, a change that represents a new era for our newspaper.
The issue also includes letters to Santa written by local students. You will find several letters are sweet and endearing and have heart touching messages. Others will put a smile on your face or make you laugh. Please enjoy.
The Herald staff works hard to put the paper together each week, however for this edition, the work load is more demanding because of the increased number of pages and ad content. For that reason, the production process for this week has received more attention and TLC. Let me share a few more details….
This edition of the newspaper comprises 32 pages –– 10 pages in Section A; 10 pages in Section B; and 12 pages in Section C. Kudos to Mindy Johnson, our advertising manager, for producing such a successful Christmas edition, and to Kay Hutchison, for proofing each ad and every news story.
Approximately 120 ads have been created for Sections A & B, and with the holiday business ads in Section C, we must add-on another 73 ads, for a total guestimate of nearly 200 ads. And, since we recently changed our software format to accommodate color options, most of the ads had to be redesigned or re-formatted this year, which was quite a task for our graphic designer. Kudos to Ashley Lane.
The newspaper also contains Letters to Santa Claus which were handwritten by young students from Plainview, Ava and Skyline. The letters likely represent 25 different classrooms, with approximately 15 students in each room, for a total of 375 letters. The letters were both fun and challenging to read and type. Kudos to Kathleen Logan Smith for typing each and every one.
Content is also a key factor. Each page contains ads, but it also offers news items as well. The number of news stories on each page varies in volume, but on an average, one page contains approximately 2,361 words. This week with a task to fill 20 pages in Sections A & B, the staff must compile nearly 50,000 words of content. And, local folks that help fill the news content space are the nearly 40 community correspondents who are big contributors to our newspaper. Kudos to each and every one.
So, as you peruse the paper this week, please take extra time to read the special holiday advertising messages, chuckle as you read the children’s Santa letters, and get in the Christmas spirit as you enjoy parade and Christmas event photos which were artfully taken by Jason Hoekema, photojournalist. Kudos to Jason for his contributions as a journalist and photographer, and kudos to Josh Hoppe as well for parade video and photos on our website.
As part of our Christmas message to our readers this year, the Herald chose to highlight staff and share a bit about our personal thoughts and prior job histories. I hope you will become acquainted or re-acquainted with our staff members as you read their personal write-ups.
During this busy season, we are also welcoming Michael Boyink to our group as a new member of the crew. Initially, Mike is joining the Herald as news editor, and over the next few months, as he becomes more familiar with the newspaper business and our local area, Mike will transition into overseeing the newspaper as managing editor. Mike is truly a welcomed addition to our office.
I hope you enjoy this Christmas holiday season, and our special color edition of the newspaper.