Jon K. Rust

Jon K. Rust is publisher of the Southeast Missourian and co-president of Rust Communications.

Google, FTI, LMA select SE Missourian as 1 of 10 in North America; Missourian seeks reporter

Wednesday, April 3, 2019
The Southeast Missourian as seen from Broadway.
Southeast Missourian

I need your help. The Southeast Missourian is looking for a new business reporter. Do you know anyone who might be interested? Think about it. Are you interested? Although our plan is to hire a full-time reporter, we would also consider hiring several people if especially talented on a part-time basis. So, if you have experience writing, and can do so on deadline, and you like the idea of covering business development (and more), let us know. Send email to editor Bob Miller at bmiller@semissourian.com; carbon assistant publisher Lucas Presson, lpresson@semissourian.com.

Marybeth Niederkorn has been the business writer for the Southeast Missourian for most of the past two years. She is moving on to work with a website company attached to Codefi. For those who've been interviewed by Marybeth or been the subject of one of her articles, you know how delightful she is. She's also a talented poet, having recently published the book, "Times Knew Roamin'." We will miss Marybeth and wish her the very best. She has been a big part of the upbeat personality of the Southeast Missourian newsroom.

In today's classified section of the newspaper, you will find a description of what the editor is looking for. Here is an excerpt: "The Southeast Missourian is looking for a business reporter to cover a thriving business community. The ideal candidate is a creative story-teller who is fair-minded and enjoys networking and finding fun, engaging and important stories. Candidates should be able to demonstrate the ability to write breaking news, feature stories and analysis pieces with precision and accuracy. At least two years of experience of daily newspaper reporting is preferred but not required."

Hiring great talent is important for any business. In this case, it's extremely helpful (although not necessary) to find talent with institutional knowledge of the area. If you already know Cape Girardeau and Jackson, you have a leg up.

At the Southeast Missourian, we believe in the saying, "Everything we do should be measured by the test of truth and grace." We do not believe in "gotcha" journalism. Instead, we seek to report with context and fairness. And we seek the good. The same principles guide our culture: We seek a culture of truth-seeking and open dialogue, while privileging kindness and positivity. Constantly seeking improvement is vital. Doing so in a team ethos, helping each other, is foundational.

If you'd like to be part of a dynamic team, please email us.

Underlining that this newspaper is special regularly winning the top award in the state and, frequently, recognized among the top in the nation for our size on Monday the Local Media Association announced the Southeast Missourian was one of 10 newspapers in North America selected for something called the Google News Initiative Digital Subscriptions Lab. This lab involves an aggressive, six-month study, which will take me and part of the team here to Google a couple times (not to mention many video calls) and bring teams from Google, Local Media Association and FTI Consulting to Cape Girardeau. The focus is on building a sustainable strategy around digital subscribers and other reader revenue.

Too often people take for granted the hard work and expense that go into covering a community through original, ethical journalism. Unfortunately, in some parts of the country, many communities have learned recently what it's like to go without newspapers as their papers have failed, in part because of the lack of local support.

Even here, locally, it's amazing for me to see exchanges on Facebook where someone laments that they can't see a Southeast Missourian article (because they've surpassed their free views for the month), bad mouths the newspaper and asks for someone else to copy and paste it into a news feed, which someone eventually does. It apparently never occurs to those in the discussion that this is actually a form of stealing. Inevitably, if everyone did that, there wouldn't be a local newspaper.

On the good side, the fact people want the story, yearn to read it, and ask for someone to copy and paste it (after exhausting their free views) underlines the future opportunity.

I'm excited about the future of newspapers. At the Southeast Missourian, we've seen more than a 46% increase in the number of digital subscriptions since last year. And print will always be a big part of what we do, because so many people value and rely on it. Part of my optimism has to do with the fact more young people are subscribing to media than ever before. Still, it takes people valuing what we do. And, it takes good people to create what people value, which brings me back to the beginning of this column.

We're looking for a new business reporter to join a dynamic team, involved in nationally impressive projects, right here in charming, economically diverse Cape Girardeau. Pass it on!

Jon K. Rust is publisher of the Southeast Missourian.

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