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Clemons: Welcome to a new look for your 'Covington News!'
David Clemons

I’d been in town for maybe half a day when my new co-workers asked me if we could change printers for the newspaper. OK, more to the point, they told me we had to change printers.

Print quality has been a major concern of advertisers and readers for some time in The News, and believe me, we’ve heard you. That’s why I’m proud to let you know you’re holding a new-look Covington News, printed for the first time using state-of-the-art equipment at Edwards Printing.

Edwards prints our sister paper in Monroe, The Walton Tribune, as well as the Morgan County Citizen, Oconee Enterprise, Lake Oconee News, Jones County News and more papers in the region. So, they know how to make a local paper look good. In fact, I was heartened to hear that one News reader’s comment, upon hearing The Walton Tribune owner was buying the Covington paper, was one of excitement because she knew how good the Monroe paper looks.

Continuous investments in technology help Edwards produce the best papers possible.

“We’ve got some additional software that helps us optimize our colors more efficiently,” manager Mike Watts said.

Watts said that while other papers may happen to operate a press, Edwards is above all a commercial printer.

“We’re producing more than 50 titles a month, and like for you guys, I print Walton (The Walton Tribune and its sister shopper paper, The Tribune Advertiser) three days a week. They’re not accustomed to dealing with the deadlines that we deal with (at another press). They’re not used to the sheer volume that we put out, day in and day out.”

Another big part of the process of giving you a better local newspaper is improving its design.

Our editorial staff has worked hard the past few weeks to bring the design of The News back in-house. For years, editors and reporters here would write their stories and make a rough sketch of what the paper should look like and where stories should go, but the rubber met the road somewhere else.

No more.

Now, the people who cover Newton County news are the ones who’ll be deciding how we present it. Hopefully that will cut down on mistakes and also lead to a more coherent presentation.

It definitely should give you a cleaner newspaper. We’ve cut down the number of fonts used while not decreasing the size of the text.

Did you hear me? We’ve done nothing to affect the readability of the text. We are however making the paper cleaner. You’ll notice more white space, more consistent labels of sections and columns and an overall better branding of The News.

Of course, a newspaper is only as good as its content, and results from a recent survey showed you’re very interested in the content we publish.

Almost every response indicated a desire for strong reporting, unafraid of the pressure from the “powers that be.” You want us to find out where your tax dollars go, and to hold elected officials accountable for the votes they make and the money they spend.

That’s what I want too, and I was heartened to hear it.

There was almost an insinuation that this newspaper has covered up for elected officials in the past. I can’t speak to what happened before I arrived Sept. 1, but I do know this staff is full of professionals who are committed to doing their dead-level best to cover the news of Newton County. We don’t have anyone on staff who’s in the tank for anyone other than our readers.

If there’s news — especially the misuse of public dollars — we’ll cover it.

You also expect more previews about local events and more coverage of local business. We’ll work to do just that.

I also heard a smattering of response that we’re too invested in local sports coverage. I have bad news on this front: We’re going to keep covering local sports, big time. No one can cover Alcovy, Eastside and Newton like The Covington News, and no one will.

In fact, our goal is to cover all of Newton County like no other news source can or will, whether it’s in print or online. We’ll do it through social media, or we’ll just tell you what’s going on if you ask us when we meet on the Square.

But today we celebrate our print product, which is alive and — more so today than last week — very well.

David Clemons is the editor and publisher of The Covington News. He invites your feedback about the new look of the newspaper. His email address is Twitter: @scoopclemons.