Valley Times-News striving to be better

Published 3:33 pm Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Alabama Press Association announced its annual awards on Saturday night, and The Valley Times-News editorial staff won eight, including the title of ‘most improved’ in its classification.

While nobody in our office chose journalism as a career for recognition or to be in the spotlight, the recognition is rewarding.  Journalism, in a way, venerates the exact opposite of recognition — especially in newspapers. Journalists try to hard not to become part of the story, so it’s a little awkward for all of us when we start writing about ourselves.

However, it is nice to have your work recognized, and we were honored to be recognized by the Illinois Press Association, which voted on the contest winners.

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While the award haul is nice, the most improved award was particularly special, because it recognized marked improvement from one year to the next. As longtime readers know, we’ve made a lot of changes to the newspaper over the last year and a half.

We launched a redesign at the beginning of 2018, which changed the look and feel of the paper. We’ve reorganized the pages, creating a weather page and a dedicated records page for obituaries.

There were countless other changes as well, some well-received while others took a little while for longtime subscribers to get used to.

While it’s nice to get recognized by our peers, nothing is more important than the feedback we receive from readers. On a daily basis, through emails and phone calls, we communicate with subscribers about what’s in our product. That feedback is extremely important, as our main goal is to be a newspaper this community is proud of, while also serving as the government watchdog and community outlet that we are.

We hope that feedback continues to come in as we work hard to consistently produce a high-quality product.

We really appreciate our subscribers, advertisers and the support in the Chambers County community as we strive to better our newspaper each and every day.