What a year 2020 has been so far! We are living through the first pandemic in 100 years… with shortages of toilet paper, flour, rice and sugar. Working at home and homeschooling were difficult as we’re trying to find hand sanitizer and masks. The economy is on a roller coaster.
Now we’re trying to sort out the racial injustices, which have led to countrywide protests resulting from police brutality and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
This might not have been the best time to invest in what I think is a great weekly paper in the Polk County Itemizer- Observer. One of the things that attracted my wife, Jeanne, and I to purchase the I-O is the amazing community with diverse perspectives and strongly held beliefs. We just could not walk away from a newspaper that has been in operation continually since 1875 and had so much community support. Freedom of the press, free speech and religion are the foundation of our democracy.
We see so many positive aspects of the community… Higher education, agriculture, small businesses, restaurants and tourism. Not to mention a historic downtown feel to the community, along with the iconic Polk County Courthouse. I see Polk County as a great place to live, earn an education, work, recreate and raise a family.
Sure, there have been few bumps in the road since taking over a newspaper that had been under corporate ownership for nearly 55 years. My wife and I have had to make lots of adjustments, learn new processes, and get to know and manage a new group of employees, all of whom are dedicated to roles of putting out a quality publication each week.
Since taking over ownership of the I-O I’ve been pleasantly surprised about how much support the newspaper has in the community. The public truly cares about their newspaper and the words of support have been outstanding. I’ve also been impressed with the public’s participation on the opinion page each week. I have received lots of feedback on the content that has appeared on the opinion page, both positive and negative. I do listen and read each comment and try to gauge the community’s view on the issues, while being sensitive to how some views truly have an effect on the people who call Polk County their home. While we do invite the public to participate and voice their views on the opinion page, we do have opinion page guidelines that limit how often a writer can contribute to the page. We welcome differing views, as long as they are not libelous or defamatory. A strong newspaper is reflective of those who choose to bring issues to the forefront so they can help create constructive public debate in a civil manner.
Thank you for helping me settle into my new role in the Polk County community and please continue to use your First Amendment right by sending us your letters to the editor… We welcome your input.
Polk County Itemizer Observer