From Brian McMillan's latest column: "It was the kind of news that only a few thousand out of six billion people on the earth would ever care about. But Mike and I recognized it immediately as perfect material for the Ormond Beach Observer."
BY BRIAN MCMILLAN | MANAGING EDITOR
On one of my first days in Ormond Beach this summer, Associate Editor Mike Cavaliere and I walked across the street to Melrose Plaza, near our office at U.S. 1 and Wilmette Avenue. We met Becky Cook, whose gift shop recently moved and will soon celebrate its 1-year anniversary.
After we explained that we weren't there to sell her anything, she warmed up to us and gave us loads of good business gossip. It was the kind of news that only a few thousand out of six billion people on the earth would ever care about. But Mike and I recognized it immediately as perfect material for the Ormond Beach Observer.
Why would anyone care that a hair salon is hiring a new stylist or that a middle school is having construction done? The answer is obvious: because you live right down the road, and you know someone who has her hair done at that salon, and you know someone whose grandchild goes to that school.
It's a vision I didn't have as a green journalist, fresh out of school. One of my first assignments was to write about the opening of a tire store. As soon as I left the office on my way to meet the owner, I rolled my eyes. I became a journalist to uncover the next Watergate scandal, not write about some Joe Schmoe who sells radials and rims. But I did the interview. I was bored out of my mind as I wrote 200 words, squeezing every last drop out of this lemon peel of a story assignment.
When I turned it in, I was told to try again. The assignment was 400 words.
I didn't get it.
But now I do. A new tire store might not be front-page news even in the Ormond Beach Observer, but it's certainly newsworthy to the people who drive by it every day. And we'll include stories just like it in our Biz Buzz section, a collection of business briefs.
We'll also be writing about interesting people who live in town, youth soccer games, restaurant news, performing arts, museums, and just about every microscopic item on the City Commission agenda.
Our goal is to mention every single person in Ormond Beach once a year on these pages. We haven't done the math to figure out whether that's even possible, but you get the idea. This is your newspaper. It's all about you, your neighbors and your neighborhood.
If you have a story idea, send it to me or Mike Cavaliere or Matt Mencarini. Matt will write about the City Commission, the Ormond Beach Police Department and all high school and community sports. Email him at [email protected].
Mike will write about everything else. He is always looking for interesting people to profile, so email him at [email protected].
And we also plan to publish letters to the editor on Page 6 every week. We publish all letters of general interest on local issues. We do reserve the right to edit for length. Email letters to me at [email protected].
We are thrilled to be here and to become part of your coffee talk. We believe a local paper like this one will not only record the history and happenings of this community, but it will also help to build the community. Your neighbors will have The Observer on their driveways, too, every Thursday, for free, and you will find that, as a result, people will be talking and communicating and debating and supporting each other in the face of their tragedies and celebrating each other's successes.
So, stop by. Send us an email. Give us a call. We rely on you to tell us what's happening and what we should be writing about. See you next Thursday on your driveway and everyday online at Facebook.com/OrmondBeachObserver and at OrmondBeachObserver.com.