First and foremost, The Oxford Journal is a community news paper. This is what we do best and what we are appreciated for. For the first time, The Journal submitted entries to the annual Atlantic Community Newspaper Awards competition which allowed our paper to be judged in the General Excellence category. We came in last on the list but there is a good reason: for Editorial Page, we receive 0 out of 100 points. Editorializing is not what we do; community news is our strength. So it was too bad that in that category, we didn't do as well as we should have. I'm sure the judges put the emphasis on "news", not on "community". Our best categories were the three for advertising plus the one for Production Quality.
Still, we are one of the few independent, and family-owned, newspaper left in Canada so consider us the little newspaper that could.
And does. Week after week, loyal and reliable correspondents send in the news of their communities; they are the priority when it comes to getting published. I'm explaining this because not one but two regular columnists didn't make it into this week's paper.
So it's that a sure sign of spring: More ads and more local events in the paper. Business for yard sales and Andy Carter's auctions is picking up. The community news items get bigger as well and there are more submissions (for instance, we feature a story about Harbourfest in this week's issue). It means I have to adjust my publishing schedule and not expect to publish either my Field Notes column or my much-longer In Conversation With... column each week (bi-weekly). I've had a good run with ICW since last August and found my groove with Field Notes from January on. My most recent ICW piece on a local woman who adopted a daughter from Ethopia has been very well-received (watch for it here next Wednesday) so that's a high note to hold while I wait for space to open up for the next piece.
But in all honesty, with the gardens blooming and the days warming up...I'd rather be outside digging and planting than inside writing! (I only say that for two months, June and July. After the black flies and mosquitos, the writing bug returns in August.)