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I'm Karyn, with The Union

That phrase a reporter uses to identify themselves with their publication, should roll off the tongue.

Next month will be a big change for our staff as we launch our new regional newspaper, The Southeast Iowa Union, which I’m sure will become known just as The Union. While they will have to get their heads around all that comes with this new title, for me it’s kind of like coming home.

My first job out of college was at the Jefferson County Daily Union. It took months after I left The Union, to stop introducing myself as “Karyn with the Union.”

My whole adult life has been centered on newspapers. Once my high school English teacher told me I wouldn’t make a good teacher, and that maybe I should look more into writing, newspaper journalism became my whole life.

I wrote for my college newspaper and did some freelance work for a local paper when I was home for the summer. My internship was at the Waterloo Courier and as my college career came to a close, my goal was to have a job by graduation. I didn’t meet that goal, I didn’t get the job offer until after Christmas.

As we debated titles for our new regional newspaper, The Union always stuck out to me. Symbolically it describes the union of three newspapers into one, but for me, it was the title that rolled off the tongue the easiest.

Over the course of the past several months, I have spent seemingly every waking moment thinking about this transition, well beyond what title would roll off the tongue the best. I’ve thought about our staff and our subscribers, what would benefit them the most. And I’ve looked at what the current climate is doing to other newspapers.

After my time in Wisconsin, I took a job at the Columbia Tribune. I’ve always felt like I left a little piece of my heart in that newsroom, so it was excruciating to see that newspaper essentially dismantled after it was sold. The pagination and copy editing was all outsourced, the reporting desk was gutted, leaving them with a bare bones staff to produce the paper. What was once a diamond of Midwest reporting, I fear is no longer.

A newspaper cannot survive if it does not have the resources to do effective reporting, and that means investing in the newsroom. With our new regional newspaper, we will have an eight-person news team. Yes, it is a large area to cover, but I believe there is an opportunity for amazing reporting and storytelling.

When I look at this new publication, I see opportunity. And frankly, I see sustainability. Ask anyone who knows me, I’m very quick to pull out my newspaper soapbox and begin preaching about how vital it is a community has a newspaper. The Southeast Iowa Union allows us to maintain a daily presence in our communities. It allows us to service our readership and expand the horizon of what engaging, local news is.

So please, pick up a paper on Aug. 5, because I think you’re going to like what you see. We sure are excited to bring it to you.