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From the Publisher’s Desk: In Pursuit of the 'Write' Balance


Dear readers,

As I sit on my familiar office sofa, surrounded by the sound of Gordon Lightfoot coming from my record player, I am moved to reflect upon the symphony of voices that reach our ears. Voices that, in their varied cadences, convey both appreciation and apprehension, concern and critique, reminding us of the intricate tapestry we weave with every edition.

A mere couple of years past, when the esteemed title of Editor was mine to shoulder, there arose a peculiar sentiment. My byline, much like a cherished old song, became an infrequent visitor on our pages. I was deeply ensconced in the logistical ballet of newspaper management, dancing between meetings and administrative duties, ensuring that this esteemed vessel of local news sailed smoothly. And, as is the wont of life's ironies, the predominant lament then was the scarcity of my penned thoughts. "Where has Chris gone?" many queried.

Fast forward to our present day, and the scales seem to have tipped intriguingly in the opposite direction. My name now graces our columns with palpable frequency, and this has not gone unnoticed. Some of you have lovingly voiced concerns, envisioning me as a fervent scribe burning the proverbial candle at both ends, destined, perhaps, to be consumed by the very flame that drives me. Others have astutely remarked on the reflections of our publication's staff size, deducing the petite nature of our newsroom from the recurrent presence of familiar bylines.

At the core, you see, I am a "fixer." The gaping void on our local food page beckons? I take to the task with zest, diving into the world of gastronomic tales. There exists an unspoken need for a human interest story? I eagerly fill that void. This penchant for mending, for filling gaps, springs not just from duty, but an unabated passion for storytelling. For in the act of writing, I revel, I find solace, and I connect.

But ah, the age-old adage does resound: Perhaps less is more. Yet, herein lies the conundrum — for every reader who yearns for succinct tales, there exists another craving detailed expositions. Some opine our pages overflow with content, while others find them wanting.

The world of publishing is much like walking a tightrope. Every step, every word, is a calculated move, balancing the myriad desires and expectations of our diverse readership. Each edition seeks to be a harmonious blend of brevity and depth, catering to the voracious reader and the casual scanner alike.

In truth, every comment, every piece of feedback, serves as a guiding star, a beacon illuminating our path forward. They remind us of our responsibilities and our purpose. They highlight the beauty and challenges of community journalism — the continuous striving to resonate, to represent, and to remain relevant in an ever-evolving landscape.

So, as we continue to thread this narrative, crafting stories, and reflecting the heartbeat of West Plains, I leave you with a musing, one that bears the weight of contemplation, yet sparkles with a touch of jest: In the vast universe of storytelling, as we grapple with the “too much” and the “too little,” might we find that the most satisfying tales are much like our meals — best served neither too sparse nor too stuffed, but just right?

Warm Regards,
Chris Herbolsheimer
West Plains Daily Quill & West Plains Gazette