OPINION

From the Publisher - Changing dates

Lisa Widick - Publisher

For years the Perry Chief has had a Friday publication date. For years the Perry Chief has been printed late on Wednesday night and delivered to our office, newsstands and the post office on Thursday.

For years the United States Postal Service has delivered the Perry Chief on Friday simply because that’s what it was dated. That changed with last week’s edition.

I want to give our readers the most up to date news so it was important to me to get that date changed. 24 hours may not seem like a big deal but believe me when I say, it is. Because newspapers have to follow postal service regulations, it took longer than anticipated to get the date change approved. Effective Sept. 6, the Perry Chief now has a Thursday publication date.

Although news can be found online in the click of a button (www.theperrychief.com), our print product is still well read. It’s important to me that our readers receive their newspaper as soon as possible. I want them to have the freshest news available.

I’m proud of the changes that have been made to the Perry Chief in the two-plus years I’ve been here in Perry. Some of the changes you’ve most likely seen, above and beyond the date change, include:

Our paper is full of local news. Very, very seldom will you find a national story or a story from outside Dallas County for that matter. We don’t cover Boone County or Guthrie County so we can keep our focus local.

Significant reduction in errors. Our newspaper is proofread by several people each week to cut down on errors. We try to eliminate any mistakes, although occasionally one might slip by.

We made the decision in May to no longer list names of callers to the police department or names of people arrested for misdemeanors or citations. I understand it’s been a long-standing newspaper tradition to publish those names, after all it is public record, but by doing so is it being fair to those with their names listed.

It is unfair to those whose names are published when they are arrested if we cannot do the proper follow up to let readers know the resolution of those cases. Were the charges dismissed? Did someone plead guilty to a lesser charge? Sometimes a defendant receives a deferred judgment and the record is expunged only to have the original arrest live-on in online newspaper reports.

Why can’t we do the proper follow up you might ask? Court records aren’t kept like they used to be and the process to find those names is not like it used to be. While we’re researching OWI citations, it takes away from the time we have to cover all the great things happening in our town.

We also believe that not following up and reporting on the disposition of a case may create a liability for the newspaper or any news organization for that matter. We will continue reporting on more serious crimes and arrests, generally felonies.

You are likely to continue to see a periodic change in faces as we are a stepping stone for young journalists who are hungry to do their best and make a difference in the community while they are here. I know they won’t be here for a long time and I’m okay with that as we get a fresh perspective on our town and our news coverage.

While things and people change, you can rest assured we still call Perry home. We live here and shop here. We buy our supplies here, we frequent restaurants here and we are members of civic organizations here. Perry is our home.

My staff and I will continue to produce the best possible results for our advertisers and the most accurate news for our readers. We’ve been doing that since 1874, why change now?

Widick is Publisher of the Perry Chief and can be reached at lwidick@theperrychief.com or 515-465-4666.