Being a servant leader means putting the interests and needs of others above your own.
When I was asked to take over as editor of Washington County News and Holmes County Times my first thought was, “My goodness could I really do these papers the justice they deserved? Could I give them the quality they needed?”
Having always been a cautious human being, I pondered why my supervisor would have chosen me out of the several other journalists he could have for the role. I wondered what he saw in me that would have made him think I would have been a right fit for these two wonderful counties. I asked him if I could drive up to the counties and see them before I gave an answer.
During one sunny weekend I drove up and spent the day in the two sister communities and was overwhelmed by the sense of peace and tranquility that they presented. Being able to speak to community members I realized what it was I could give to the community, a sense of service that I had given in Santa Rosa County and Escambia County. I realized that I had done everything I could do at the Santa Rosa Press Gazette and it was time for me to go to another community that needed my service.
As I looked back into the archives of Washington County News and Holmes County Times, I see a rich history of stories and information about the counties, a true timeline of community news encompasses what the towns of these two communities means to each other. The papers have been blessed with past editors who acted as stewards and, each in their own way, had a special vision for the paper.
I admire previous editor Carol Wyatt for her continued dedication to Holmes County serving as the public information officer for its sheriff’s office. I also admire previous editor Jacqueline Bostick for continuing her career in journalism with Panama City News Herald. Both of these women served faithfully and tirelessly in the roles they took and each one possessed unique visions of their own for the paper and wanted the best for it. I have great respect for them and thank them and to them let it be said, “well done, good and faithful servants.”
Just as Carol and Jacqueline had a unique vision for the papers, I have my own vision for the paper. My goal, as I said is to make the paper as local as I can. My goal is to work with the community as much as I can. My goal is to get as involved in the community as much as I can. But we must face the reality of the situation; I am but a single and humble servant. Truthfully speaking, I can not do it alone. I ask for the community to help where you can.
If you see something on the street you think needs to be a story, take a picture of it, get some information, and send it to me. My promise is I’ll follow up with you on it. We’ll work on it together. If you need help getting information, and you think your local paper’s editor might be able to get it for you, contact me. I’ll do everything I can to get it for you or point you in the right direction to get it.
We are companions on the journey, my goal is for us to work together and make these papers what you would have them to be.
Since joining the papers, I have been welcomed warmly by the communities. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve you. I look forward to sharing in this next chapter with you.
K. William Boyer is the editor of Washington County News and Holmes County Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 850-638-0212 ext. 4006.