Welcome to the newest addition to our family

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 14, 2010

Our Canal Street building can sometimes feel like a Natchez version of Grand Central Station with people coming and going all day long.

Reporters, photographers and marketing representatives usually are the most active travelers in and out of our building.

But it’s not just our staff members who are coming and going. Customers drop off payments, request delivery changes, talk about marketing their businesses, put items in classifieds, submit a letter to the editor or item for Tracings or sometimes just come by to visit.

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For each of those people, the newspaper represents something helpful in their life, whether personally or professionally.

And each one is greeted by a variety of our staff members.

Interestingly, we receive a number of freight deliveries on 18-wheelers each day, too. From supplies we need — newsprint, ink, printing plates and the like — to the more than 8 million sales circulars that are included with copies of The Democrat and Miss-Lou Buyer’s Guide each year.

But only a handful of our employees are trained to operate the forklift and unload such freight.

Because of that, normally when the doorbell that rings in our building alerting us that a trucker is at the back of our building, only a few people jump.

Friday morning wasn’t normal.

Ben Hillyer — not forklift certified — was standing in my office when the bell rang.

“Oooh! Is that it?” he said.

Fractions of a second later marketing representative Ryan Richardson appeared in the doorway.

“Is that them?”

All three of us scurried to the back of the building. Fortunately our Anita Hood, who works in circulation department, was leading the way. Anita is one of the usual forklift crew.

The “it” was the first arrival of the newest publication we’re producing — Natchez the Magazine.

And, sure enough, the truck bringing the local copies was waiting to be unloaded.

A quick slash of a knife against the tape on the box and there it was.

After months and months of work, three of many people who had worked on the magazine finally got to see a printed copy.

Hours later, Ben’s hands still seemed permanently attached to a copy of the magazine.

The excitement in our building and in the community was great.

Obviously, the “new puppy” excites us, particularly because readers seem to like the magazine so much.

But the amazing thing, and the one we can quickly forget, is that despite all of our frustrating typos and goof-ups, our staff creates things that have a huge impact on our community each and every day.

An independent survey conducted last year showed our print and online editions combined reach 77.3 percent of the households in Adams County and Concordia Parish each week.

That’s an amazing, and humbling, statistic.

Each of the 365 days of the year, the newspaper, website and other publications help solve problems for residents and business owners.

For that privilege, we are forever grateful and excited.

Natchez the Magazine is the newest of our publications, but when we stop to think about it, it’s only one of many exciting, useful things we produce for readers and businesses in our community.

We’re thrilled by the reaction to the new magazine, but we’re more thrilled that we’re lucky enough to work on projects that make a difference in our community.

My deepest appreciation goes to each of our customers and to our great team members.

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