It takes a village at The Gazette
BY: ELIZABETH WEST
We often say it takes a village, and when it comes to putting out a newspaper, you can trust me when I tell you that it truly takes a village.
The process of producing a paper is one that can really only ever be understood by a person that lives this reality.
Every line, story, photo and ad is strategically placed on each page of the paper, and that is a task no one person can do themselves.
Week after week, the Ville Platte Gazette staff is tasked with working together in a way that must be better than a well-oiled machine, because in our job things are constantly changing up until minutes before the press deadline.
Through last minute changes like an ad being pulled, which would completely disrupt the editorial space my department must then fill with content, I have learned that I am lucky to be a part of a village that feels just like a family.
In the composition department we have Monique Ardoin, who builds solid ads for The Gazette, the Acadian Press, Lagniappe, and the Basile Weekly.
In the ad department we have Kathy Longino and Becky Nelson, who are always selling their little hearts out to make sure my department even has a newspaper to write stories for.
In editorial, we have my associate editor, Tony Marks; editorial intern, Ali Moras; sports editor, Tracey Jagneaux; and myself, who is the managing editor.
With a limited staff, we couldn’t do our jobs without one another.
For example, I like to have a first day of school picture page each year. With 11 schools in the parish though, it is hard for our small editorial staff to find a way to get to every school to take pictures.
To be able to successfully bring my vision to life this year, Monique crossed over into editorial and helped make sure we had pictures from three schools that myself and Tony were unable to be at on the first day.
There are also often times where our ladies in advertising will bring stories to editorial’s attention that we can use in the paper. This is crucial to the success of the editorial department because there are moments when it is hard to manage keeping up with what is going on in the community while you are in the midst of writing other stories and laying out special sections.
Kathy and Becky are also the ones who make time in their already busy days to proof our stories and pages, because no one is perfect and we will make mistakes.
All three of these ladies can’t possibly understand how much what they do to help us in editorial means.
We are so lucky to have these people who are willing to allow us to lean on them when our mountain of work seems to not get any smaller.
As far as my staff goes, Tony has become my rock, my side kick and my ride or die. He has grown an unbelievable amount in his position in such a short time.
When I was preparing the Tee Cotton Bowl special section this past week and then was given two more sections of the regular paper on Tuesday to have to layout and write stories for, Tony was right there for me to turn to in order to get the work done.
He found us an extra story for the front page and went take a photo for the paper, since there was no way I would be able to do it in the middle of laying out the 22 pages we had to design.
Just like my co-workers, who I like to refer to as my teammates, I will always have their backs too.
If sales are down, I promise I will do what I can to try to find at least one more person to buy an ad in the paper.
For Tee Cotton Bowl, I went to the store one day and saw an opportunity to ask the store owner if he wanted an ad, and he accepted. Two days later, I went with Becky to introduce her to the store owner and to officially get the ad sold.
I did that for them, because I realize they have done so much for me and the editorial department since I began working at The Gazette 27 months ago.
It brings me true joy knowing that the village that is The Gazette, is made up of people who not only want to see our newspaper succeed, but are also willing to do whatever it takes to make success our reality.
So, as we continue to be a village that makes what seems sometimes impossible possible, I am glad that I can say that through the highs and lows that come with this job, those I have named will always be there to help see our jobs through.