Have you ever thought, if I were in charge, I would do this or that?
Well, I have been with The Daily Star for almost a decade, the majority of that time serving as comptroller until I was promoted to publisher about a year and a half ago.
I find myself in the position to change the things I did not have the authority to before and adjust to the needs of those we serve.
In my travels, meeting our readers and advertisers, one of the most common questions I receive is, what does a publisher actually do?
Since it isn't top-secret classified information, I thought I would share what my responsibilities are.
My role is similar to a company president or CEO. I answer for our financial performance and maintain a certain profit level while offering an affordable product.
I guess it is fitting to say that the buck stops here. I oversee all the facets of this organization, including my senior management team.
These consist of our editor, Sam Pollak; revenue director Fred Schmidt, who is in charge of our advertising and circulation departments; Olin Benedict our prepress supervisor, comptroller Karen Chichester; and pressroom foreman John McCoy.
These team members and I collaborate to bring new features, opportunities and offerings to the community. I rely on them tremendously and trust them implicitly.
We steer this boat together, yet the ultimate decision on the direction we take is mine. That certainly does not make me the most popular person at times, so it is important to have broad shoulders to carry the weight!
For example, our editor oversees the newsroom staff, directs his team based on our company's objectives and his expertise, and reports directly to me.
I can attest that we do not agree 100 percent of the time, but when the time comes, I must make the decision and stand by it _ good or bad.
If you have had a chance to meet me, it is apparent that I don't sugarcoat much. I admit when I am wrong or make a mistake. I do not make excuses and I try hard to make the best decisions with you, our readers, in mind.
Your feedback is imperative for our organization. I will be the first to admit that we will not be able to please all our readers all of the time, based on individual interests or hobbies.
However, comments about what we do well or _ as I hate to admit _ not so well are things I want and need to hear.
Are we perfect? Absolutely not! Are there areas I feel we need to improve in? No question. Certainly, everyone has read or heard about the financial problems at metro newspapers, but I am here to tell you your local newspaper is sound and my dedicated staff is ready, willing and able to provide the products you expect.
We start with a blank palette every day and within 24 hours create a new product on paper and on our website for thousands of local residents and others.
The more-than 100 staff members here at The Daily Star and I continually analyze and seek new ideas that benefit our communities.
I wouldn't be doing my job if I were happy with the status quo. That isn't how I operate, and I can safely say the same goes for The Daily Star franchise.
I am willing to hand-insert your paper when a machine breaks down or sweep the floor (both of which I have done, by the way); in fact, I will do almost anything it takes to solidify our commitment to this community.
The most exciting and hands-down favorite part of the job is interacting with readers and advertisers. I may be the crazy lady who walks up to you in the coffee shop, introduces myself, and asks what you think of the paper you're reading.
Or, I may be the one in the suit who tags along with your advertising rep to discuss our business partnership and how we can better serve your advertising needs.
Attending various events that our organization sponsors and meeting fellow business leaders, not-for-profit groups and getting to know our clients is personally and professionally fulfilling and keeps me smiling.
It is my privilege to serve as the publisher of your community newspaper, and I look to supply you, our customers, with what you want and need.
In a storm, do we turn into the wind and ride it out or pack it in and return to port? My philosophy is to charge ahead and meet things head-on. I welcome your comments and I'm confident you will embrace the many improvements to come in 2009.
I cannot fib _ these past two weeks have not been great in my effort to quit smoking, and I have slipped a bit. Not to where I once was, but certainly over my five-cigarettes-a-day allotment. Chantix is looking better and better as each day passes.
Tanya Shalor is publisher of The Daily Star and may be reached at (607) 432-1000, ext. 214, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears every other week.