It was a great year for local journalism.
In July I attended the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors conference, where I accepted the Golden Dozen award for column writing, and just a few weeks ago I attended the Missouri Press Association conference and have accepted over 50 awards for mine and my staff name.
Last week there was no award, but it was the icing on the cake of a year-long sundae for professional leadership and education.
Let me go back. Two years ago, a few years after speaking on a panel at its annual convention, I was approached to join the board of the Ozark Press association. I had never served on a board, but thought that if I was going to gain experience in this area, joining a board adjacent to my current job would probably be a smart move.
After learning the ropes and becoming more comfortable, last year I was surprised to be elected to an officer — vice-president position.
Cool, I thought. I wonder what that implies. Truth be told, vice doesn’t mean a ton more, except you become president the following year and are tasked with leading planning meetings and organizing and executing a one-day convention.
Wow. This I had never done.
On October 13, I was thrilled, proud and humbled to welcome over 40 reporters and newspaper workers to the OPA’s annual convention, which I chose to host in our own backyard at Roaring River State. Park.
I had never been so nervous in my life. I was so dizzy that I forgot the president’s gavel on my desk in the office.
Hitting this thing never gets old, and I’ve only had a few more times to do it.
Luckily my wonderful wife delivered the hammer at lunch. Another big surprise lunch was a meal paid for by Roaring River Concessions owner Jim Rogers citing our partnership with the parks over the years and hoping to see us again in the future.
After tremulously introducing the leaders in the room and thanking those responsible for bringing us together, I began the first session, the importance of editorials.
I talk a lot in this space about events in our communities, my family, my profession, etc. It’s one of the most powerful tools a local newspaper has to spark conversations and shape the progress we all hope will continue to make.
After that, we heard from Michael Scott Leach of Monett, who taught us everything we can do with DSLR cameras that fall into our laps without instructions. Scott has volunteered his time to give a presentation that will hopefully have a positive effect on newspaper photos throughout the region.
We then had a sports photography seminar, an afternoon money-making brainstorming session, and our “Bright Ideas” session, which goes along the same lines.
At the end of the day, my presidency was also over and I passed the gavel to Ron Schott of the Wright County Journal.
I am always proud of our efforts in these pages to bring you, our readers, the most accurate, informative, relevant and entertaining news possible. Seeing so many like-minded others in the same room as me, and knowing that I played an important role in setting it up was equally humbling.
We also had nothing but compliments on the meeting room, the meal and the program. The only snag we had was that we couldn’t get the HDMI cords to work on the new TV, so a PowerPoint presentation I had on photography techniques had to be emailed.
Still, I say it’s not a true journalist convention without some kind of technological hiccup.
This will probably be the last column I’ve written for a while on this professional stuff, and I’m sharing it for several reasons. First, I hope you have a window to see into our very public world and understand where our motivations lie. Secondly, I hope you see the efforts we make day after day to improve our publication. And third, maybe I like to brag a bit about the leadership roles that we’re taking in the region, the state, and beyond.
So one last time, long live local journalism. We hope to continue to deliver a product and the representation you deserve.
Kyle Troutman has served as editor of the Cassville Democrat since 2014. In 2017 he was named a William E. James/Missouri Outstanding Young Journalist for daily newspapers, and in 2022 he won a Golden Dozen Award from ISWINE. He can be reached at 417-847 2610 or [email protected]