Publisher's Pick: Publisher-for-a-day finds a focus
How would it feel to be Post-Bulletin publisher for a day? What would the experience be like? Who in the community would you meet that you otherwise would not know?
How would you arrive at decisions that affect not only the subjects of news coverage, but also manage the business side of the newspaper operation? When the day is done, would you have a better — or bewildered — understanding of what it is like to be your community newspaper’s publisher?
Every now and then, when I am collared at a community gathering by either happy or upset readers, I sometimes wonder if they understand the overall significance of the role that I play in the community. As I work through the tasks of my work day, perhaps even I do not realize at the time the relevance and impact of my decisions.
I honestly can say that every day I serve as publisher of the Post-Bulletin is immensely gratifying. Being a part of the important and credible "voice" to the more than 60 communities served by the Post-Bulletin is the best job I can imagine for me. I almost never have a moment when I think "Who needs this aggravation?" Quite to the contrary, my days are overwhelmingly positive and never quite the same experience.
I am fortunate to work with a team of passionate professionals who rarely need my day-in/day-out oversight. And, I work for a family-owned company whose board members demand little attention. They permit me to publish a daily newspaper as if it were my own, striving to meet the information needs of readers and advertisers with every edition.
Meet the interim publisher
Today, Gail Bishop is finding out what it is like to be publisher of the Post-Bulletin. At least for a day — a day of events that Gail helped form. A day that I am certain she recognized was full of responsibility and enterprise, just like any other day.
So, who is Gail Bishop? And why does she get to be Post-Bulletin publisher for a day?
To sum up the "who" part of the two-part question, Gail Bishop is a person of gentle passion for our community, especially as it revolves around issues of social justice. As for the "why" part of the question, Gail was at the right place at the right time.
The place:Rochester’s Unitarian Universalist Church, where Gail and I are members.
The time: A live auction church fundraiser last fall when members had opportunity to bid on experiences offered by other members.
I didn't have a week at a lakeside northwoods cabin to offer. Nor did I believe I could concoct a gourmet meal for a dinner party of eight in my home. But what I did have to offer for the fundraiser was an inside view of what it is like to direct the operations of this region’s most influential news and information source.
The bidding for the one-day opportunity was spirited, and I was delighted and surprised. Good for the church, I thought. But would the eventual top bidder be good for the community, for the newspaper?
At the time, I didn’t know top-bidder Gail Bishop very well, but always have held a positive impression of her and her family. All three Bishops have been among those friendly faces that welcomed Sheryl and me into church life and into the life of this community.
A woman on a mission
As it turned out, our hectic schedules did not permit Gail and me to meet and plan for her day at the P-B until just a few months ago. The first step was to bring Gail into the newspaper offices, meet some folks, and let her learn a bit about our news and opinion process. It was then I realized that the Post-Bulletin and its readers were in for something special. Subsequent meetings formalized a plan to benefit readers from Gail’s day at the Post-Bulletin’s rudder.
Quiet and demure-appearing, Gail Bishop observes life around our community and doesn’t like everything she sees. Why? Well, as Gail will tell you in her own words in tomorrow’s edition of the Post-Bulletin, our community, despite its fine assets, has serious social justice issues.
Gail’s focus for her day in my office is to help the Post-Bulletin address issues of poverty, homelessness, and the unavailability of affordable housing. To help editors form a grass-roots opinion, Gail has assembled a panel of community leaders, public officials and activists to meet and delve into deep discussion on how to combat and resolve the problem.
Tomorrows’ edition of the Post-Bulletin will share Gail’s experience and at the same time, provide a commentary forum for panel members, setting the stage for continued attention to poverty and homelessness in our community.
Thank you, Gail, for bringing the conscience of the community inside the doors of the Post-Bulletin and onto the pages of our community newspaper.