Newspaper celebrates Birthday
'We are the recorder of life'
by Winston Skinner
“Community newspapers are still viable,” John Winters said. “I believe we’re very important.”
Winters, the general manager of The Newnan Times-Herald since April, said he wants to make the Times-Herald appealing to as many potential readers as possible — and to make the newspaper the best possible option for local advertisers.
“I want there to be something for everyone,” he said. Winters said people like different things — sports, food, movies, local news, entertainment features. The newspaper needs to have a range of features to attract as many people as possible.
“I want to be able to offer a variety of things,” Winters said.
Community newspapers write about people’s births, deaths and the important moments between, he points out.
“The Newnan Times-Herald is a chronicle of Coweta County. We are the recorder of life,” he said. “It’s a sacred trust.”
One of the newspaper’s main roles is serving as a watchdog for government — keeping an eye on “how taxpayer dollars are spent,” he said. Telling readers “what is going on in the community” and serving as “an information source” for local residents are also ongoing goals.
“Our job is to try to cover as much as we can with the staff that we have,” Winters said. Educating readers about issues that impact their lives takes work and commitment.
He said each newspaper story should answer a basic question for a reader: Why do I care and what does it mean to me?
There is more to the newspaper, however, than hard-hitting reporting and investigative pieces. “The newspaper should be fun,” Winters said — pointing to a recent series of “letters to the editor” from T.R. Cone, which resulted in road repair and some chuckles for readers.
Winters noted the paper has some new sections — Business, Up Close and the Weekender.
Winters keeps watch over the Community Forum page and writes the editorials. He wants to see more letters from local citizens, and is contemplating some longer pieces on issues. “It’s important that we have different viewpoints because we are a diverse community,” he stated. “I would love nothing more than to increase the number of pages of the Community Forum because so many people are getting involved and expressing their views. It’s supposed to be a public forum, and that’s what I want to see.”
The newspaper is one of the few places “where people actually still have a voice,” Winters said, “where they can vent or praise.” The Newnan Times-Herald will soon be implementing a paywall on its Internet site. Winters said the paper remains committed to getting stories “to as many people as possible in the format they desire.”
He also said he wants to make certain The Newnan Times-Herald is the number one advertising resource for Coweta County businesses. The newspaper wants to “help our advertisers expand and grow their businesses,” Winters said. “The better they do, the better we do. We want every business in the county to succeed.”
Winters sees a strong connection between the vitality of the business community and the newspaper’s future. He said, “I like to call them partners.” According to Winters, the best part of the job is the employees.