Folks, I’ve got some exciting news to share with you — things I haven’t even told our entire staff yet.
Don’t worry. They’ll find out soon enough. Today, though, you and I are just having a conversation about one of the most ambitious projects The Covington News has undertaken, maybe ever, and I’m asking for your help. The only thing I know off the top of my head that’s bigger is the centennial issue from 1965.
It’s called “Visions,” and it is a magazine we’ll be producing this spring.
Lots of newspapers across the country do what’s called a progress edition. It’s an annual checkup of the community — what we’re doing right in our schools, hospitals, churches and businesses.
This hasn’t been a feature of The News in past years, but I’m excited to say it’s coming back in a big way in 2018. Knowing my teammates here, the end result will be a product you’ll want to carve out a few hours to savor and hang on to the whole year.
Visions will feature five sections: Learning, Business, Wellness, Community and Faces. Inside the Faces section, you’ll find honorees for some pretty big awards.
The first Community Spirit Award winner leads the pack. We’re going to honor someone — maybe even a couple of people, in special occasions — who really stands apart from the crowd. This will be someone who’s well-known in Newton County for getting things done to make this a better place to live. Special consideration will be given for a person who’s been doing it for a long time.
I’ll put it this way: Think of the sentence, “Newton County wouldn’t be what it is without the hard work of _____.” Whose name went in that blank? That’s the person who might deserve a Community Spirit Award, especially if you know many other people would agree.
Other people who are making us better, but maybe toil a little outside the spotlight, will be recognized with Unsung Hero awards. There will be a couple of these. An Unsung Hero is someone who maybe works in a nonprofit, or it could be someone who’s engaged in volunteer efforts the rest of the community might not know. Use your imagination.
We’re also looking for a Youth of the Year. Who’s a good student in Newton County with a bright future? This isn’t just an award based on highest GPA. This is weighted toward all-around excellence. Did the student earn an appointment to a military academy? Or maybe receive the big-dog scholarship to an Ivy League school? Is he or she racking up volunteer hours at a rate to make the rest of us feel bad? That’s going to look a lot better than simply having straight-A’s.
Finally, we’re looking for the Employer of the Year. What business treats its employees like rock stars? Where do all the workers, from upper management to the newest front-line worker, give it all they have inside the building and out in the community? It might be an industry of 1,000 workers or a bank of 15.
And, of course, we need story ideas in the categories I mentioned. Do you have a nominee or story idea? Send them to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll review them.
In late April, you’ll see who was chosen. And if your nomination didn’t make it this time, don’t despair. We’ll be bringing Visions back year after year, because Newton County has no shortage of good stories to tell.
David Clemons is the editor and publisher of The Covington News. His email address is email@example.com. Twitter: @scoopclemons.