By Valerie Shelton, Editor
Happy New Year!
The hectic holiday season has passed and now is the time many reflect on the highs and lows of the last year and make those ever-challenging resolutions. I’m not one to make resolutions, but it is amazing to look back and see how much has been accomplished in the last year.
On a personal note, ringing in 2015 was tough as I found myself unemployed and as the worry wort I am, overly-stressed. While binge-watching Netflix for days is, in theory, awesome, when those days turn to weeks, it is no longer fun. In short, I was panicked at the start of 2015 not knowing what lied ahead.
Thankfully, my job hunt only lasted a couple months as I was lucky enough to land a writing gig, which quickly turned to an editor position, here at The Clovis Roundup. It’s been a whirlwind of activity ever since.
“Everything happens for a reason,” was a saying I heard quite often during my job search and my pessimistic self now has to admit that yes, things do happen for a reason. While I loved my previous job, there is such a joy to be found in working for a young locally-owned company like The Roundup and when it comes to the newspaper industry, such companies are few and far between.
The benefit of being at a relatively new locally-owned publication is the freedom and the opportunity to help make your mark and watch your ideas come to life. While I was used to having freedom to choose my own story topics, at my old newspaper job there was little I could do in terms of changing the look and feel of the paper—it had a style that had been in place for many years. The Roundup, however, is still up-and-coming and as such is always changing to meet the needs of the community it serves.
In just the last 11 months that I’ve been on board, I’ve been privileged not only to meet great people in Clovis and write fun and informative articles, but I’ve been able to work closely with our graphic designer, Billy Xiong, on enhancing the design of the paper you hold in your hands.
Within just a couple months of my hire, we were able to reformat the front page layout, giving Billy more space to work his magic on our leading stories and a space to tease a couple of the many stories inside the paper. I continue to be impressed with some of the great layouts he’s come up with. All I have to do is tell him what I’m thinking and he’s able to translate it perfectly to the page. Just look two issues ago at what he did for our Christmas issue and the lead story on a young couple that got engaged at Santa Claus Lane. Their sweet story was encapsulated by a beautiful border and design Billy brought to life.
While this redesign was huge, it wasn’t even the biggest change The Roundup made in 2015. That would be the addition of our new B section for Sports and School News. This is another area where Billy is able to showcase his talents. It also gives our sports editor, Paul Meadors, more space to showcase the many athletic events happening in Clovis.
Another milestone we hit last year was the hire of our first intern, Diana Giraldo. Diana started working for us in the summer and made herself indispensable. We are grateful that after she completed her internship, she opted to stay around, continuing to write on health and fitness related topics and doing Man on the Street interviews. It’s been a privilege to work with Diana and our second intern Daniel Leon, who was brought on to help with the new sports section. Diana and Daniel have shown a level of enthusiasm that is infectious, reminding me of my early days in journalism and renewing my passion for the work I do each day. Yes, it is chaotic and yes, there are deadlines, but it is definitely rewarding.
As we move into 2016, our plan here at The Roundup, is to continue to evolve and make our paper even more enjoyable for readers. In this first issue of the year, we have two new sections we are excited about. One is our new “Spotlight on Safety” where each issue we will feature someone from the fire department or police department who is doing their part to keep Clovis the safe community it is. We owe a lot to these courageous individuals and want to recognize their efforts.
A second new section you’ll find this issue is a page titled “True Equestrian” where we’ll be featuring all things equine. For this section, we’re welcoming reporter Lauren Mueller. Lauren is currently a journalism student at Fresno State and you may find her name familiar as she wrote some feature stories for us last semester as part of her community journalism class. Upon meeting Lauren, I learned that she is quite an enthusiastic equestrian and thought she would be perfect to write about equine related topics for our paper. Clovis loves its rodeo in April, but for many residents rodeo is not a once a year affair, it’s a lifestyle. Lauren will be bringing that lifestyle to the forefront as she explores different trails, talks with different ranchers and organizations and, of course, covers rodeo activities.
I’m excited about all these new developments and, as the weeks of 2016 go on, I’m sure there will be more exciting changes to come. As always we thank our loyal readers for keeping up with The Roundup and we hope you will all have a fantastic 2016!