The Plainsman needs you!

By Benjamin Chase of the Plainsman
Posted 3/9/24

In this From the Mound, the writer encourages a partnership between the community and its local news source

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The Plainsman needs you!


“And I wonder if I ever cross your mind
For me it happens all the time”
“Need You Now” — Lady A

The single “Need You Now” remains one of the biggest hits by Lady A, known as Lady Antebellum when the song was released in August 2009 and rocketed up the charts once it was released worldwide in May 2010. It spent five weeks at No. 1 on the country charts and won the group a host of awards.

The song won four Grammy Awards, including Song and Record of the Year, along with winning the Single and Song of the Year awards at the Academy of Country Music Awards.

“Need You Now” had crossover appeal, reaching the No. 2 spot in the Billboard Hot 100 charts of the top songs in the United States in November 2010, the first time in 10 years that a country song reached the top three. It’s been certified platinum 11 times.

For me, the harmonies on the song are the big draw, as the combination of Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley on vocals is a combination of tight harmonies and two voices that blend well, without one overpowering the other.

The message of the song of essentially a drunk dial call from a former lover that you’ll likely regret the next day is probably something that many can relate to, but it’s the vocals for me that are far and away the song’s selling point.

One thing that the lyrics hit to me is a strong desire for something that the person on the other end of the line is the only one that can seemingly provide.

We at the Plainsman are in a spot where we need you, the reader, so we can continue to provide the community of the coverage that is deserved.

The end of February also brought to the Plainsman newsroom the loss of a member of our team due to budget cuts dictated to our Huron office.

When my grandmother was proofreading the paper multiple decades ago, the newsroom staff alone was larger than the entire staff of the paper now, which includes our creative/advertising department, sales, publishing, reception, and printing staff.

The Plainsman’s coverage area as a daily paper includes more than 7,000 square miles of land area and serves more than 40,000 residents in the seven-county Heartland Region.

We have four people in our entire newsroom to cover that entire area.

That means that we rely on you to adequately cover the region.

Take high school sports as an example…within our coverage area are 12 high schools. Three of us in the newsroom help cover sports, but even if all three of us were at different games on a given night, that would ensure three of those 12 high schools to be covered. That means we rely on someone who’s part of the team to pass on the score and statistics from a game.

That doesn’t always happen, though.

In fact, during this year’s basketball season, the school that was best at sending information that was usable for the paper (at the most base level, providing a score and top scorers for both teams at least gives us enough info to put together a story) was Sunshine Bible Academy, whether home or away.

The interesting thing is that it wasn’t as if SBA was writing to brag about their enormously successful seasons - the boys’ and girls’ teams combined to win three games all season - they were simply ensuring that information made it to the paper, which meant grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles and everyone else could read about how a student performed.

I’ve heard in the community from people who are curious why Iroquois and James Valley Christian school information ends up in the paper frequently. I tell them - because they send it in! It’s pretty simple, really.

This is not a call for community assistance to write editorial columns. We do have limits on guest editorials that we enforce as well as a limit on opinion letters to one per month.

That said, if you know of a great community story that should be told, send a picture and information to us. We often learn of something that took place after it happened, by word of mouth or from you.

Did someone on the high school sports team break a record or achieve a career milestone? Snap a picture and let us know the details, and we can at the very least run a picture with a caption.

Is there a community event that you believe should be highlighted? Snap a few pictures, send in some notes on what’s going on, and we can get the story put together, or can follow up for more information.

Have a community play or concert? Send in a few pictures of a rehearsal along with some information about what’s going on, and we’ll get the story in.

And in every case, when it is something that is getting ready to take place (concert, play, etc.) let us know ahead of time.

When we put together the paper each day, I know that none of us here at the Plainsman check the Associated Press feed and wonder how many national stories we can get to fill our pages each day.

No, we would much rather have an abundance of local stories to fill the paper, and each one of those local stories takes time - whether it’s visiting with and photographing a 100-year-old woman to celebrate reaching centennial status, observing and reporting on a local commission or school board meeting, or watching and reporting on an area sports team.

We would love to have the time to be able to do these things in-house, but as our staff numbers are decreasing, to offer the community coverage that we want to do and that you deserve, we need you, the community to assist.

As the song references, you, the reader, cross our mind all the time, whether you even think about what we are doing here in coverage until it directly affects you.

In partnership, we can go further in our quest to make sure all those moments are preserved and promoted the way that they should be!