Editor’s Column: About those rocks…

Niki Turner is the owner and editor of the Rio Blanco Herald Times.
There are decoratively painted rocks all over Meeker, tucked into nooks and crannies and out in plain view. If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably seen them. If not, you may have stumbled upon (or stepped over or walked past) a painted rock and not known what it meant or what to do with it.

Here’s the 411: if you find a rock, take a picture of it for FB (if you’re a FB’er) and then hide the rock again in a new place for someone else to find.
Finding a cheerfully painted rock in an unexpected location may be just thing that lifts someone else out of the blues or a cranky mood, and if we can help one another be happier with something as simple as a painted rock, more power to the rock painters (some of whom are quite talented, by the way).

We’re welcoming Brett Dearman to our team this week and look forward to having a fresh pair of eyes, a new voice and another team member on board who can “go to meetings so you don’t have to.” With his investigative background, I believe he’ll be able to help us improve the quality and content of our journalism.
On a personal note, Brett and his wife Holli (formerly a Rio Blanco County public health nurse) lived across the street from my daughter when my son-in-law flipped the riding lawn mower into the irrigation ditch two years ago, pinning himself beneath it. The Dearmans “happened” to be outside, heard him yelling, and were the first on the scene to help. Good folks to have back in town, in my opinion.

While a newspaper provides a public service through reporting, announcing, notifying, revealing and otherwise covering the news of a community, a newspaper (unless it’s adopted a non-profit model) is not a public service. It’s not a tax-supported entity or a philanthropic organization. A newspaper is a business, and has to be run as such. It’s taken me a while to discipline myself to not give away our products and services for free.
So when someone recently asked if we support local events and organizations since we don’t just write a check like everyone else does I was a bit taken aback.
Because when one person has a question, usually at least 10 more people have the same question, here’s my response. The newspaper’s “support” comes in the form of increased visibility and publicity through free articles and photos, free news briefs, free calendar listings, free letters to the editor, free obituaries, free public meeting agendas, etc. All things we could conceivably charge for, but we don’t. So when you wonder why we’re always out selling ads, it’s so we can keep on providing space for all that content!


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