Thank you Goshen County

Jess Oaks
Posted 1/24/24

Hello, Goshen County!

I just arrived back home after my first Wyoming Press Association Convention..

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Thank you Goshen County


Hello, Goshen County!

I just arrived back home after my first Wyoming Press Association Convention...I know, that doesn’t sound too exciting to most of you, but let me tell you about what I learned and how it can help you, as a valued reader and subscriber of the Telegram. 

Most reporters, editors, page master’s and so on, dream of being mentioned during the awards ceremony but, to us new faces in editorial, the convention is one of the biggest learning experiences a journalist can dream about. 

There are so many different things I learned, and I really can’t wait to share them all with you. 

During one of the presentations I attended, it was mentioned most readers don’t understand how the whole process of “reporting” goes. It further explained a great need for informative opinion pieces just like this. 

Reporters work for the public. It is our jobs to seek and find the truth, to hunt down the discrepancies and question the answers, to deliver supported, factual news with resources from all sides to our communities. 

I have always thought, our office here at the Telegram, works like a machine. There are cycles, deadlines, and repeats and we all work hard to bring you the truth. The newspaper is a pretty large machine, with many moving parts.

Our newsroom consists of two reporters and me to cover basic “beats.” Each one of us has our own writing styles, likes, and dislikes. We try to utilize our strengths and weaknesses accordingly. Rhett does a phenomenal job of keeping us up to speed with court cases and thought-provoking op-eds. Stephanie is just learning to stand on her own two feet and is doing a great job developing human interest stories. If it is about cows and plows, count me in. 

There are many monthly meetings we attend, which are normally scheduled in advance. 

When I moved from the graphics and composition department to editorial last year, I remember the frustration the editorial department faced for the last-minute notice. 

What I am referring to are the times our phoneline rings at 3:30 p.m., telling us coverages is needed for an event that night at 5 p.m. 

As most of you can imagine, sometimes, we can make that short notice work. It might mean someone is “taking one for the team” and staying later than they normally would, or a quick juggling of appointments...but there are sometimes, we just can’t make short notice work. 

I can say, our editorial department loves to be invited to events in our community. We are just as excited and want to share your excitement with the community too. 

But we can’t always juggle our prior obligations on a whim. Give us a few days or even weeks notice! 

Goshen County is such a beautiful community. There are so many under-covered events, celebrations and actual important, newsworthy, moments taking place which we are completely unaware of. 

We want to be there too. We want to watch the youth of the community grow through their achievements. We want to share your retirement because we are proud of the dedication you have shown. We want to know if your 4-Her is competing in a special contest because we want to share your excitement too. 

Another obstacle we face is a pretty common statement, “It isn’t in the paper until it has already happened.” 

This statement is once more supported by my above explanation. It is hard to report on an upcoming event if we have been left in the dark. 

When I came to editorial, one of the first things I did was a basic Google search for a “community calendar,” to find events to cover. I was pleased to see the Torrington Telegram community calendar was the best one available. No, I am not being bias. Try it for yourself. There isn’t a calendar on the internet with the number of events we have listed to be found and I wanted to say thank you. 

Thank you for inviting us. Thank you for helping us keep the community informed of your meetings, clinics, classes, events, support groups and of course BINGO. Thank you for letting us know about your book sales and bake sales. Thank you. 

Another common dilemma we face, “Can’t you just get it in tomorrow’s paper?”

Yes, sometime, we can. Again, the Telegram is a well-oiled machine so let’s break it down a little. 

The editorial department receives story ideas from a variety of sources.

The type of story dictates the amount of time we need to prepare the editorial content. Some stories, the feel-good ones, are often one-sided. They are stories we have researched and most often, we have carried on a casual conversation with the subject at hand. 

Some of the articles we write are notes of public meetings. It’s our job to share what is happening in our towns, county and so-on. We work for you. It’s our job to keep you up to date on the important things. 

There are some types of stories that require some investigation. Those stories require two sides of the story. Part of our news story should explain highschoolers like grape jelly more than strawberry and why. That report should explain why some of the students prefer strawberry. Our position in editorial is to show you all the facts and allow you, the reader, to make the best-informed decision with knowledge and facts you can trust. 

Clearly, there are articles which require a great number of sources, man hours and interviews. There are issues we must “sit” on as we collect more information, more facts, and more sources. It doesn’t mean those issues aren’t important to us. It doesn’t mean we don’t want to report on them. It means we need to gather the most reliable information from the best sources we can and sometimes, that takes more than a day or a week. 

Our machine runs on a Tuesday morning deadline.

All our editorial content, which appears in your Wednesday morning paper, prints Tuesday morning. Our Friday edition is printed on Thursday mornings. 

All our content is placed in a series of templates. It is proofread and edited many times before it becomes a newspaper. 

Even though we have all read and re-read articles, headlines, and photo captions, we know we make mistakes. We are human. We all put our best foot forward to write, edit, design, and print a product Goshen County can trust but there are moments we just make a mistake. 

Let us know. 

We want to hear what we did wrong. We want to hear how we can improve. We want to grow, and we know it’s possible with constructive, respectful, criticism. 

Maybe Mr. Mouse has been going around town, taking all the “Vote Mr. Cat” signs out of the yards so he can win the next election. Let us find the neighbor and interview her about the pile of election signs she saw Mr. Mouse carrying to the trash. Let us talk with the detectives and see if they have any evidence. Let us find out if Mr. Mouse will be barred from the election – We want to know and more importantly we want you to know. 

The convention was eye opening for me. I learned there are many things I just assumed you, as a reader, understood. 

Stay tune for next week when I talk about another important part of my job. Transparency. 

Our “door” here at the Telegram is always open. Stop by to visit. Remember, we want to be a part of it all too.