Get ready to look into the mirror

Published 11:30 pm Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Once a year we like to take our newspaper squadron outside the office in plain view of the world to perform a few crazy stunts, inspire some teamwork and in general make fools of ourselves.

It’s the way we kickoff our biggest annual project — Profile.

The special edition won’t be published until the last Sunday in February, but our employees are already hard at work making the section all that it can be. The 100-plus-page magazine includes dozens of feature stories about people and places in our community.

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Advertisements make the section possible, and give local businesses a way to publicize their people, goods and services in a special way.

We design Profile to be something you won’t read through in a day. It simply contains too many good stories for that. Instead, we’d prefer you hang on to the section for weeks or months, exploring what’s there as time allows.

Besides, if we work on it for months, it only seems fair that you read it for months too.

Our theme this year is “About Face: Looking into the mirror of our community.”

We plan to examine the faces that make our community what it is, from clock faces to baby faces and everything in between.

Two Sundays ago, we drafted our entire building’s staff to Memorial Park for the kickoff party.

Since our theme is “About Face,” it seemed appropriate to recruit a little help to fire up our staff.

Enter SFC Severin W. Summers with the Mississippi National Guard, who greeted each employee upon arrival and christened him or her with dog tags.

For the next two hours those of you passing Memorial Park or watching us from your porch across the street probably got a few chuckles at our expense. Our drill sergeant expertly led us through a series of military-themed tasks.

We shined and laced boots, peeled potatoes and shot down plastic army men (with water guns). Our creative side came out when employees finished the line “I don’t know but I’ve been told” with something motivational about the project in front of us.

I work with these people every day, but it’s only once a year I get to see their true competitive nature come bursting to the forefront. We have some sharp shooters and some potato peeling machines among us.

In the end, one team won and left with a prize and more importantly pride of their own.

Much thanks goes to Sgt. Summers for sharing his military spirit with us, barking orders and making us jump. If Sgt. Summers didn’t inspire our team to work, I don’t know who will.

We have no greater model for work ethic, spirit and commitment than our armed forces.

Now, the fun in the park is over and the work in the office has begun. Advertising representatives are selling ads, classifieds sales personnel are making calls and reporters and photographers are making contacts.

We have 40 stories and more than 40 photos outlined that will fill the pages of Profile 2008.

You may be subject of one of them.

And since the theme is “faces” we’ll be working to get as many of you into this section as possible. So keep your eyes peeled for our reporters, photographers and sales reps.

Let them know you want to be a part of Profile. After all, “We want You!”

For everyone else, Profile will come to you on Feb. 24 as either a thud in your driveway or at a newspaper rack nearby.

We work hard to make this project something special and we can’t wait to share it with all of you.

Julie Finley is the managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or