(I was recently promoted to editor of the second-largest newspaper in my company's chain of community publications here on Long Island. The following is a rather light introductory column addressed to my new readers).
By Joseph Kellard
I’m an honest guy. So there’ll be no empty words here telling you that, after six-plus years as the reporter/editor of the Oceanside-Island Park Herald, I took the position of Long Beach editor because I have an undying love for the city. Let’s just leave my main motive at this: I needed a raise.
Now, let’s get on with what’s probably important to you, dear Herald reader, and that is that I know Long Beach well and have always enjoyed this city. I grew up nearby, in Oceanside, and spent my adult years there before moving to East Meadow last March. Over the decades I’ve spent many sunny days catching rays on the beach and, I must admit, numerous nights socializing at Long Beach’s bars, including, yes, Chauncey’s, the notorious West End watering hole turned townhouses.
But that was many broken waves and Budweisers ago, and what’s most relevant is that I got my start in journalism as a reporter for the Independent Voice, the Long Beach newspaper that the Herald purchased in 2001, after which I was hired as a reporter under Keith Grant, then the editor of this publication. Between the two papers, I have about 16 months of experience reporting in Long Beach under my 32-inch belt.
So even though the interim has been long, I believe I still have enough of a feel for the pulse of this city to pick up where I left off. And I’ve never really left. I continue to frequent the boardwalk on summer days and can be found chatting with friends or reading at Starbucks near City Hall, and I’ve periodically covered some Long Beach-related stories. In recent years they’ve included the murder of city native Robert Calabrese Jr. and his killer’s trial and sentencing, the East End residents unnerved by noisy Island Park nightclubs and the school district’s debate over whether to enroll Island Park high school students (see my front page follow-up).
If anything stands out about my earlier experiences reporting here, it’s that there was no shortage of stories to tell. The news is constant, and the interesting and accomplished people to profile are many. And that’s another big reason I took this editor’s position. Of all the South Shore communities the Heralds cover, Long Beach is by far the most exciting. The one concern I foresee is that there’s only so much editorial space, so selectivity of stories is of the essence.
In undertaking this task, first and foremost, I need to find out what issues you, the readers, and I think are most important. But I also aim to provide the unexpected — that is, what really makes the news “new.” This way, when you pick up your Herald each week, I hope you’ll do so with the expectation that we’ll cover not only the obviously important and traditional stories — but also with an eagerness to see what new angles we may take on them, or what connections we might make between seemingly unrelated events, or what new intriguing personalities and unsung heroes we find.
That’s the path down which I’d like to steer this paper. There’s no telling which way it’ll lead, but hope you enjoy the ride and the new scenery.
Joseph Kellard is a journalist and columnist living in New York. Please post comments about this article.
For inquiries about Joseph Kellard’s writing services, email him at: Theainet1@optonline.net.