Brian Sandford: Speeches are a great opportunity to connect with readers
September 22, 2013
For the first 19-plus years of my career, I had lunch with maybe four readers and didn't deliver a single speech. In my nearly eight months in Carson City, I've had perhaps 50 lunches with readers and officials and spoken in public at least 15 times.
Care to guess which of those eras I cherish more?
Getting the opportunity to tell a group who you are and why, as well as what your newspaper is and why, is a tremendous privilege. I was reminded of this Wednesday and Thursday nights, when I spoke to members of Carson City's Leisure Club — the city's oldest club — and the local chapter of the International Footprint Association. The latter group's mission is to encourage "fellowship, respect, cooperation and helpfulness between all arms of law enforcement."
The speeches weren't just on consecutive nights; they were in the exact same location, behind a podium in an upstairs conference room at the Carson Nugget. As I gazed at a sea of expectant faces the second night, I joked that the previous night had served as a rehearsal. The audience and I ended up sharing a number of humorous moments during a 20-minute question-and-answer session.
During such Q&As, audience members generally want to know why we cover the things we cover, whether we have any particular biases, how we'd handle certain hypothetical coverage situations, why their paper was late the previous week, who owns the Appeal, what our future looks like and what working for a daily newspaper is like. The answer to the latter is simple: it's challenging, invigorating and a ton of fun.
I've been fortunate to have had lunch with many of you. If you're a member of a service group or club and are looking for a guest speaker, I'd be very happy to talk about what we do here and answer some of the aforementioned questions, as well as any others you might have. Openness and transparency are key tenets for any good newspaper, and my door is always open.
Editor Brian Sandford can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.