From the publishers desk: Building a news team

October 05, 2007 11:00 pm

Michele Thomas

Behind the scenes at The Daily Triplicate, many people have been putting in long days for what seems like a very long time. What impresses me most about my co-workers is their "can-do" attitude. The people I am privileged to work with have proven to me over and over again that they are dedicated, capable professionals who won't complain or whine when the going gets tough. Instead, their passion for excellence is contagious and inspires me.

Together, we've overcome many obstacles: power outages, phone system failures, breakdowns of equipment at the printing plant, a major computer conversion and the greatest challenge of all, shortage of personnel.

People make our company. When I interview a prospective employee, I look beyond the resume for a genuinely good person to bring on board. I look for someone who will complement us, someone willing to go the extra mile and push the envelope of excellence. I look for someone who will contribute to the quality of our product, the culture of our company and the core of our community.

Over the past couple of months I have been interviewing nearly non-stop for positions in our newsroom. The process starts with the responses I receive to advertisements I've placed. Then we begin the conversation, usually with emails back and forth, then phone interviews, followed by calls to their references. If the candidate still looks promising, I arrange a personal visit. We've kept the airport busy flying in candidates from Davenport, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Seattle, and Los Angeles. Tomorrow I will be meeting a plane from New Hampshire.

The good news is that I have met some very good people, both qualified and eager to join our organization. In the meantime, the crew here has worked 10 to 12-hour days, with a day off here and there, demonstrating workplace stamina I've never witnessed before. It's no wonder excitement has been building this week as we mark off the days on the calendar, waiting for Monday, when three reporters are joining our family.

All three have degrees in journalism, newspaper experience and unique talents to bring to our table. Their interviews overlapped so they all got to meet each other here last month. As Matt, Michelle and Kelley completed their individual story assignments, an integral element of the interview, I observed that the fit—the chemistry, if you will—of these reporters with our current reporting staff was positive, energetic, stimulating. I was looking at a stellar new newsroom team.

I have used this column to reminisce about personal adventures and experiences. Today, I'm talking about the future. I want to share my joy and, yes, relief, knowing that come Monday our newsroom staff will nearly double. For the current team that means "normal" work schedules and a lighter load. For our readers it means more local stories, more community reporting, and more information about the people and events that impact our lives here in Del Norte County.

Please join me in welcoming Matt Durkee, Michelle Ma and Kelley Atherton to Del Norte County. I am more grateful than words can express for the excellent work of the team that they are joining. Laura, Bill, Bryant, Nick, Adam, Nita and our high school intern Lindsay have kept the type flowing over the past few months. To them, I'd like to say, "Good job and thank you. You make me proud."

Reach Michele Thomas, The Daily Triplicate's publisher, at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , 464-2141, or stop by 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.