Earlier this week I officially moved into the editor’s desk at The Regional News. My workspace is equipped with the usual computer, phone, filing cabinets and a few reference books, but the best feature is a window. A really big window.
Admittedly, math has never been my strong suit but my calculation says I’ve got approximately 5,100 square inches of plate glass to my immediate right and it is one of several that make up the front of the building.
The window offers a perfect view onto Harlem Avenue and 123rd Street, the heart of downtown Palos Heights. A short distance west is Palos Park, a quick drive south is Orland Park. These are the towns The Regional covers. I’m happy to now be part of the team.
It’s easy to get lost in thought, gazing out that window. The traffic count alone is impressive. According to the Illinois Dept. of Transportation, approximately 31,000 vehicles pass the intersection daily. I would have never guessed. As surprising as that is, however, I focus instead on the people, the businesses and even the emergency personnel from the fire department, rushing at a moment’s notice to potentially save life and property. It’s the pulse of the city.
In 1950, when The Regional News office opened at this prime location, there was a lot less of just about everything—people, traffic and businesses. Palos Heights was not yet incorporated. Not long before, in February, 1947 Carl Richards launched a paper he had recently purchased and redesigned, the Palos Regional. Richards stepped up the Regional’s publishing schedule from monthly to weekly and he and his wife, Virginia, began distribution. The “new” Regional was written and laid out on the Richards’ dining room table until operations moved to the new office. A nod to the past, an old-fashioned printing press, stands outside the office, near the curb. Although the newspaper industry in general has struggled for many years now, The Regional has remained strong because of the commitment to serve the communities we cover, reporting news that our family, friends, neighbors and local business partners are just not going to get anywhere else.
When I was hired, I was given a mandate from Mark Hornung, COO of Southwest Regional Publishing which now owns The Regional. “Get outta here!” he told me. Well, not in so many words. But he did make it clear he wanted a good portion of his brand-new editor’s time spent out in the community, meeting people, listening to them, listening to them some more, covering events and finding more news in addition to what arrives at the office via phone, email and our friendly postal carrier.
I couldn’t agree more.
Whether I meet you at my desk, at community events, in the mall, walking in the woods or even in the ice cream aisle in the grocery story—yeah, I’ve got to do something about that little problem—from Palos Heights to Palos Park to Orland Park, don’t be surprised if I interrupt your concentration to ask “What’s new in your world? What do you need answered? What do you want to see in your community newspaper?”
And if it takes a while for me to get to everyone—after all, there are about 73,000 of us in these three towns—give me at call at (708) 448-4000, ext. 101 or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m all ears.