It’s now been six months since I took over the Albany Journal. I’ve had a lot of folks ask me what it’s been like, so I thought I would take this auspicious occasion to share what it’s been like to sit at the helm of a paper like this.
First, let me tell you that this adventure has proven to me that it’s impossible to make people happy. Some people want more scandal. Others want more happy news. You just can’t make everyone happy. However, I generally try to put something of “happy” news on each front page. It doesn’t always happen, but that’s generally the goal. However, the reality is that what readers respond to hasn’t changed. “If it bleeds, it leads,” is a maxim that hasn’t changed one iota throughout the industry’s history.
Second, I see many of the challenges Kevin Hogencamp had which came in the form of a lack of cooperation from the City. It’s not all the time, but it’s often enough to appear to be a consistent shut out from the powers that be. It’s not exactly a surprise either. While they freely share requested information with the Herald, emails from the Journal appear to be ignored. Some in the community feel that the Herald acts as the “official” voice of the City, and therefore they see no problem sharing with their propaganda machine.
I won’t go that far, and I don’t think that’s completely fair to my colleagues over there either. I do understand where that perception comes from though. The City’s failure to respond to the Journal in a timely fashion only perpetuates the perception. Hardly a surprise.
Another thing I’ve noticed during my time here is the sheer number of groups interested in helping out various segments of our community. Intellectually, I knew there were a lot of groups. It’s impossible not to know. It becomes more apparent to you when all these worthy groups have things they want you to run and there’s only a finite amount of space. There is no feeling quite as bad as not being able to run a story from a worthy organization simply because there’s no room.
So what does the future hold? Well, much of it I’m not quite ready to reveal. However, as a student of history, I can say that I intend to look to the past and use it as inspiration for the future. The idea is to help the Journal continue to grow and become a newspaper that everyone in Albany simply must read each and every week. Doing so will not be easy, but the best things never are.