Today is Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The reader is more important than the award

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Becky Andrews, Zack Owensby and Sabrina Garrett

On the heels of being named one of Tennessee's top newspapers, I wanted to thank everyone at The Wilson Post who has helped grow this publication into one of the strongest and most well-rounded in the state. Our staff of writers, photographers, designers, columnists and editors cannot be matched in talent, determination, expertise and camaraderie.

We may just be the greatest paper that people who live outside of Wilson County never know about - and that's a good thing.

It's a good thing that we are completely meaningless to residents of Shelby County. We have no news of Tullahoma or Franklin. Oneida doesn't care about us. But, what does matter is that our team does its absolute best to form a watertight seal around Wilson County when it comes to keeping our readers informed.

Awards and pride, however, often go hand in hand.

Even after 19 top five awards, five first-place awards and the General Excellence Award, I can't help but think we have so far left to go.

Sure, it felt great to accept each one of those awards, and maybe it's the "Debbie Downer" in me that keeps returning to the thousands in Wilson County who don't recognize our name, have never read our paper or have never visited our website or social media channels.

We may have one of the best newspapers in the state, but it is for naught if no one here reads it.

Wilson County is fortunate (and increasingly a rarity) in that it is home to two strong newspapers. The Lebanon Democrat did well at the Tennessee Press Association's banquet themselves, garnering several first-place awards. Congratulations to their staff. It is well-deserved.

On a weekly basis, our newspapers compete for the reader's attention, seeking out breaking news and unique angles. We are always trying to beat one another, although most people don't notice the competitiveness. This is great for the people of Wilson County, as both newspapers continue to get better as a result.

And that's a good thing if you call Wilson County home.

For one night each year, our newspapers don't compete directly with one another - we're judged in different awards categories - and we enjoy each other's company and applaud each other's successes.

What do we need in order to continue improving? It's pretty simple, really. It's the same thing we've always needed: you.

Everything we do, every decision we make is with you, the reader, in mind. It's why we pursue the stories we do, and it's why our advertisers continue to invest in us. All of the decisions in our newsrooms are weighed against their importance and impact on your daily life here in Wilson County by people who live here, too, and not by some award council made up of industry insiders.

If you want to see your community continue to prosper, pick up a local newspaper, any local newspaper (although I would prefer it be a copy of The Wilson Post). Just be informed. Be involved. Be a part of your community.

Let us know how we're doing. In the end, awards are just wood and ceramic. What really matters is how you, the reader, feel about the work we're doing, the stories we're presenting, the information we're providing.

When the unthinkable happens, who do you trust?

When the good happens, who do you tell?

When tough questions arise, who do you ask?

Make it your local newspaper.

Managing Editor Zack Owensby may be contacted at zowensby@wilsonpost.com.

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