Finding the Real: Perspective is needed when considering change

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
Jennifer Stultz is the Editor of the Pratt Tribune, Kiowa County Signal and St. John News.

Full disclosure: the changes to the Pratt Tribune in recent weeks have been hard to get used to, for readers and for myself. Loss of my own control over the design and layout of all pages as that has moved to a state planner and a design team on the East Coast hasn't been easy for me as an editor. I have always valued the process of seeing an article through from thought to print and publication placement but that is no longer the reality of my job. The changes haven't come easy.

We all know however, that life isn't about easy. It is about having the choice to view the cup half full or half empty.

I could fill a page or two about what has gone wrong recently with the newspaper as print journalism has changed in relation to economic times. We could delve into the disappointments of the industry, but what good would that do anyone? What we must do, and I continue to do, is look at the bright side of what recent changes have brought to our hometown newspapers, and in particular, for me as editor.

There are those complainers who say there is never any local news in the local papers around here, but I have often found those statements come from people who do not actually subscribe to the Pratt Tribune, St. John News or Kiowa County Signal. Local news has always been our focus, and the pages of our papers continue to be chock full of stories about people, events and items of community interest, perhaps even more so now than ever.

As our office in Pratt was whittled from 11 employees to only one in the past two years, more and more duties that were not part of the editorial position fell upon my shoulders. Though change has been very difficult, I am slowly experiencing the lifting of some of those burdens, particularly as hours and hours of layout and design are shifted to a team concept. This allows more time for reporting and writing local stories.

The publication of obituaries has long been a mainstary of local newspapers. There is an unbelievable amount of time that goes into the production and processing of obituaries that come in from funeral homes and families in different shapes and forms that must be worked into printable fashion. A recent change to an online center for these processes means obituaries are published quicker both in print, and now online on the Pratt Tribune website. This is a plus for those looking to view information about services and loved ones.

Digital posting of our Pratt Tribune, Kiowa County Signal and St. John News is also getting a boost as the new processes of production evolve in our now nationwide Gannett family. All of that is a step forward in quality and quantity of news that pertains to humanity.

We are all human. News is a heavily human-influenced entity. Newspapers, and their connected online services, reflect what current event humans are most interested in, based on their own reactions and story selections as well as time spent reading those selections. The addition of more wire-service news in our local papers hasn't been all bad. Our world is ever-expanding, our choices of what to read is still entirely all our own.

In a world full of continued change, I'd have to say I'm looking forward to what comes next. Based on what we've been through in the past few years, it's likely to continue to get better. It's all a matter of perspective as we work to fill the glass back up.