Take the time to get better

For the past three years Lindsey and I have taken a week out of our busy schedules and embarked on a journey to better our company and learn from our peers.

This year?s excursion is coming soon as we will hit the road for Columbia, Mo., for the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editor?s Conference on Wednesday, June 24, through the end of the week.

We take a pile of newspapers to show off and get critiqued from experts from all over the world.

No matter how many times we have participated in the process, I can never get over the fact that journalists from all over the world are reading about our small communities right here in south-central Kansas.

I have always enjoyed the critiquing and challenges we receive from our friends and colleagues as it makes us a better organization and makes the newspaper stronger every time.

This year the Hillsboro Free Press will be reviewed by folks from New Mexico, Georgia, Iowa, Colorado and Mississippi during the official critique session, but I plan on approaching a few people from Canada, Austra?lia, Washington, D.C., and Minnesota to look at it also.

There are few times where publishers and editors from all over the world gather in one place to help better each other.

One of the best experiences we have had was meeting Tim and Mary Waltner from Freeman, S.D., and discussing the many shared connections we have with them. Mary spent some time in Newton when her dad taught at Bethel College. What a small world.

They have taught us a lot about being better journalists and are always so friendly.

Outside of the great connections, I have always been a big advocate of continuing education and bettering yourself in your industry. If you get a chance to do something in your field, I really encourage you to do so. I am sure whatever your field, there are opportunities for you to meet with others and learn.

My experiences with ISWNE and the Kansas Press Association have helped us improve the paper, and the time has been well worth the headache of being behind when we got back.

So I apologize in advance if I am slow getting an e-mail or phone call back to you next week. If you need something quickly call the office. I will get back to you when I can, but know that I am doing something to make our product better for the future. Hope you can understand.

Joey Young is majority owner and publisher for Kansas Publishing Ventures, which produces the Free Press and other publications.