Cook column: Time marches on, and so will Post
I don’t know which has been more surprising, the announcement that the Post’s owner is seeking a buyer for the newspaper, or the public’s reaction to the news.
Well, yes I do.
Not that we knew this was coming, exactly. But last year the Charleston, S.C.-based company that owns the Salisbury Post sold a newspaper it owned in Bryan College Station, Texas — The Eagle. Since we work at the only other daily Evening Post Industries owns outside South Carolina, several of us in the newsroom speculated: Would the Post be next?
We’d seen many other papers change hands in the past two years. Berkshire Hathaway and Halifax have bought papers all around us. A new phase of newspaper acquisition is under way. The activities of our own company and industry trends suggested the next step would be for the Post to be sold, too.
But I put that out of my mind in the weeks after The Eagle’s sale. We had events to cover, stories to write, issues to explore — too many things to think about, sometimes. So we were distracted from the ownership issue.
That is, until last Tuesday when we learned the Post and its sister weeklies in Mocksville and Clemmons are being offered for sale. The news was a little unsettling. Change is coming. (And, no, I don’t know what the asking price is.)
We’ve been through this before, but some people in the community may not be aware of that. They see “seeking a buyer” as a death knell, as if the Post is on the verge of shutting down. We survived after the Hurley family sold the paper in 1997, and the paper will go on after EPI completes this sale some time next year.
For a day or so I ran through best-case and worst-case scenarios in my head. Now we’re all turning our attention to the stories and events we have coming up.
What matters most to readers is what’s in the paper, not who owns it. So here are a few things to look for in the near future:
Elections. Municipal elections are just a little over a week away, on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Between now and then, we’ll publish stories on the candidates and issues in all 10 municipal races in Rowan County to help voters make informed choices.
We’re not sure of the exact order, but we plan to cover everything from China Grove to Spencer. The last story in the series will be on the Salisbury City Council race, and it will be published next Sunday, Nov. 3.
Before that, Salisbury voters should plan to attend the forum at 6 p.m. Tuesday for City Council candidates at the Crystal Lounge on the campus of Catawba College. The moderator will be Dr. Michael Bitzer, professor of political science and history at Catawba College and writer of “The Party Line” political blog at www.wfae.org.
Readers of the Salisbury Post have submitted several questions. We’re co-sponsoring the forum with the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce and Catawba. You can still email questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or send them directly to email@example.com.
Election Day is Nov. 5. We’ll post results on our website that evening and have a complete report in the paper the next day.
Honoring veterans. Columnist Mark Wineka has a series of stories coming up that you won’t want to miss.
Post Publisher Greg Anderson found a treasure when he helped clean out his late mother’s house — hundreds of letters his father wrote home during World War II. He chronicled his experiences in Europe day by day — weaving a story of courage, perseverance and longing for home. Mark’s series on the letters begins Sunday, Nov. 10 — right before Veterans Day.
Letters from Home. Once again, we’re asking for the names and addresses of local men and women who will be away from home in the armed services at Christmas. We’ll share the list with Post readers so they can send them Christmas greetings along with thanks for serving our country. Please send your service person’s name, address, photo and information about his or her experience to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christmas Happiness. Thousands of children in Rowan County might find no gifts under the tree on Christmas without your help. As we have done every year since 1952, the Post will begin accepting donations to Christmas Happiness in a few weeks and list every one of them in the paper. A few checks have already come in. We’ll give the money to the Salvation Army, which will distribute the donations to qualifying families in the form of vouchers to buy things for their children. We ask you to help us meet this need again.
Elizabeth Cook is editor of the Salisbury Post.