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Editor's column: R-C reporters taking on new roles

Published: July 16, 2017 4:00 AM

It's been a few weeks since I shared what's happening at the Record-Courier as I continue to settle into my role as editor and general manager.

We've been putting the finishing touches on a new beat structure for reporters, a plan that helps ensure we're covering the stories you most want to read. We're also nearing the launch of our new website, which I will share more on soon.

The new coverage plan will kick off Monday and greatly increases our focus on several types of news, especially business, education and compelling features about the people and places of Portage County.

Here's who will be doing what on our reporting staff:

City government: Diane Smith will expand her focus beyond Ravenna and report on local government issues in Streetsboro, Kent, Rootstown and rural areas.

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Business: Bob Gaetjens will focus on businesses, growth and development, health care, and economic issues countywide. He previously covered just Streetsboro and has been filling in on the Kent beat of late.

Education: Briana Barker, who has been working at our weekly newspapers, will take on both primary and secondary education countywide, while also covering the impact of Kent State University on our community.

County government and projects: Matt Merchant will continue to focus on county government, politics and special projects such as our recent reporting on the Portage County Sheriff's Office.

Life: Kelly Maile already spends a lot of her time sharing feature stories, but we believe there are even more opportunities to share interesting articles on a wide variety of people, places and things to do.

Crime and courts: Dave O'Brien will continue on this beat, but he will have additional help from reporter Tim Troglen in handling breaking news across the region.

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Together, they'll continue to emphasize breaking news coverage such as the bank robbery in Ravenna last Monday where online readers found near immediate reporting from O'Brien and Photographer Amanda Woolf.

Not only will these beats better focus our reporting, we'll have more people covering each of our communities. We'll be better able to identify trends and stories impacting a wider audience.

Feel free to reach out to any of these reporters with story ideas as they settle into their new roles. We're also realigning our editors, with Managing Editor Heather Rainone now being supported by Local Editors Andrew Schunk, Marsha McKenna and Eric Marotta. All four will focus on content planning and editing for all digital and print products, including our weeklies in Summit County and Aurora.

A few words on advertising inserts: We've received numerous calls in recent weeks from readers concerned about "missing" advertising inserts.

Please understand businesses pay for us to deliver their pre-printed advertisements to you. During the summer months, some choose to cut back for a few weeks, which often leads readers to believe we've made a mistake somewhere in the delivery process.

While we can't rule out an occasional error preventing an insert from landing in your paper, if a store ad is not in the Sunday inserts, it's far more likely the store opted out. We do share your feedback with the advertisers, but respect that they must make decisions in the best interest of their operations.

The good news is we have one of the stores back inside today's print edition.

 

Michael Shearer is Editor & General Manager of the Record-Courier. He can be reached at 330-298-2023, mshearer@recordpub.com and @MichaelJShearer on Twitter.


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