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Thanks for helping us go for the gold

As the 2012 London Olympics wind down today, I’m one set further from the likelihood of competing in the world games.

The athletic performances on display have been truly amazing and inspiring.

While clearly I’ll never compete at Olympics-level sports competitions, The Natchez Democrat had a brief gold-medal moment early last week.

The Adams County Board of Supervisors, Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce and Natchez Inc. named Natchez Newspapers Inc. the business of the month for August.

On behalf of our entire staff, we humbly say “thank you” and appreciate the honor and the recognition of the business aspects of our company.

For many people, it’s a little strange to think of the newspaper as a business since it’s often considered sort of a quasi-public entity.

Many readers think of the newspaper not as a business, but as a source for something they seek — whether it’s local news or sports, opinion pieces, advertising messages or perhaps the crossword puzzle.

But The Democrat is actually one of the oldest continuously operating businesses in the community, having been founded in 1865.

In simplistic terms, we employ approximately 45 people — including both full-time and part-time workers — with an annual payroll of well more than $1 million. That makes us probably fairly small in comparison to the largest local employers, but larger than the majority of small businesses.

Throughout its history The Democrat has depended on two things: Excellent, dedicated staff members and amazingly dedicated customers.

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve had some changes in our staffing.

Our talented Features Editor Emily Lane left us for a position at a larger newspaper, The Clarion-Ledger. The newspaper heavily recruited Emily after seeing the amazing number of awards she won — more than any other single writer in history — at the Mississippi Press Association’s annual contest last month.

All of us regretted to see Emily leave us, but we know her dream is to work at a much larger newspaper and the Jackson position is a great step in her ultimate career goal.

We wish her the best of luck and thank her for her dedication and hard work over the past couple of years.

The make-up of our team changes through the years. For those of us who stick around for a while, it’s fun to see people come through Natchez and begin their professional careers learning about our unique people, places and cultures.

Dozens and dozens of journalists have begun their careers here in Natchez. Many have gone on to be newspaper editors, publishers and owners all across the country.

Some readers have complained through the years about the fast turnover, particularly on the reporting staff. But with each departure, an opportunity for someone else opens up.

This past month, we’ve welcomed two new people onto our team, too. Roxanne Harris joined our marketing team and former sports reporter Matt Burrowes — who recently moved back to Natchez after working elsewhere — joined the newsroom team.

The team changes sometimes, but the dedication to keep our business working efficiently never does.

Keeping the business side running smoothly is critical to maintaining all that we do — employing dozens of local residents, informing and entertaining more than 75 percent of the community who read us or keeping public officials accountable.

Thanks for your readership.


Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or kevin.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.