February/March 2012 Editorial

February 3, 2012

It’s hard to believe that it was almost 3 years ago that I somewhat naively agreed to become the new editor of The Williamsport Guardian and take on the task of bringing it back from the brink of extinction. The Guardian had not been published for over 4 months and the Board was meeting to decide what to do. I’d been invited to attend the meeting by a friend who was on the board. I wasn’t sure what I was walking into, but ironically my mother had some premonition because she said to me: “just don’t agree to be editor.” And sure enough, before the meeting was over, I had agreed to do just that. I had no idea what I was getting into, but looking back now I have no regrets. I’ve learned a lot about everything from the intricacies of gas drilling to the energy of our local arts community. I’ve met some wonderful people and formed some cherished friendships.

But it hasn’t been easy. Frankly each issue of The Guardian that hits the streets is a miracle. A miracle sustained by a revolving cast of extremely dedicated volunteers who donate their time and energy to pulling each issue together. The most important part of my job as editor is coordinating all this effort and the fact of the matter is there are always too few people doing too much work. This particular issue would not exist without the continued dedication of Barbara Andreassen who did the layout but so much more and with the fresh energy of April Line who volunteered to take on the editorial heavy lifting on this issue while I was otherwise distracted.

Lately I’ve started to ask myself: “Is The Williamsport Guardian worth all the effort?” Does this community really need a bi-monthly, volunteer-run, alternative newspaper? Should we go digital? Should we bother to publish at all? The answer to this question lies in the hands of the people willing to support it. The Guardian will only continue to exist if enough of the people who read it value it enough to support it, and if we continue to attract a core of volunteers willing to do the heavy lifting necessary to get each issue to press.

Do you value The Guardian? Do you want to see it continue? Then you need to do at least one of the following on a regular basis.

-Let us know you are reading The Guardian. Tell us what you think about the latest issue, what you liked, what you didn’t like. Let us know that someone is reading what we work so hard to get into print.  Let us know what you’d like to see in the next issue of The Guardian, send us letters to the editor, information about upcoming events, articles, ideas for articles, photos, drawings.
-Share The Williamsport Guardian with other people. You don’t have to be part of our distribution team to help distribute the The Guardian. You can help distribute it by giving copies to friends and neighbors, buying a subscription for someone who has moved away but still cares about this area, leaving copies of The Guardian in your favorite coffee shop, waiting room, et cetera.
-Support us financially. Buy a subscription and get The Guardian delivered to your door. Place an advertisement in The Guardian. You don’t have to own a business to advertise in The Guardian. Consider supporting two causes you love by placing an ad for a local non-profit organization in The Guardian.
-Attend our fund raising event in March. On Thursday, March 22, we’ll be holding a special dinner at The Herdic House. By attending you’ll be making a financial donation to The Guardian but you’ll be doing so much more. You’ll be coming together with a community of people who care about the mission of The Guardian and I am looking forward the exchange of ideas that will come from that gathering.

If every one who reads and values The Williamsport Guardian did at least one of these things it will help sustain the continuation of The Williamsport Guardian, but I need to be honest and tell you that it’s going to take more to keep The Guardian rolling off the presses 6 times a year.
We also need volunteers willing to commit to donating their time and energy to doing the work it takes to get a paper to press. Here’s what we need.

Graphic Designers. We need individuals who know how to use InDesign to do page layout and ad design work.

Photographers. We need photographers willing to take photos on assignment.

Writers. We need writers willing to do articles on assignment. We get plenty of writers who will write about subjects they are interested in and we really value their submissions, but if we are going be a serious alternative news source, we need writers who are willing to pursue stories that our local media will not.

Section Editors. We need writers willing to commit to compiling specific sections of the paper such as Take Action, Events, By The Numbers, Music, Arts, etc. We also need guest editors, individuals willing to provide assistance with a specific issue.

Distribution. We need volunteers to deliver the paper to our distribution points.

If you are interested in being part of the team that creates the next issue of The Williamsport Guardian please get in touch with me at williamsportguardian@yahoo.com. The future of The Guardian is in your hands.

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