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Stirring those journalistic juices

I’ve been at this for a long, long time.

In fact, I was a newspaper man before the industry used computers. We needed a darkroom for photography work. The Internet wasn’t even a thought in anyone’s mind. Neither was email.

Pagination? Huh? What’s that? We built pages by the old hands-on cut-and-paste method, and we used landlines or face-to-face meetings to communicate. There was no social media to mix up and distort the facts.

In all, I’ve probably been responsible for about 8,500 newspapers during my almost 37-year career. During that time, I’ve literally been in the line of fire covering a murder and subsequent suspect chase and search, watched an entire town remember a fallen hero and written about sports teams and athletes capturing state and national championships.

In many respects, it’s been a very storied career.

But, through all that, I don’t think I’ve experienced anything quite like this coronavirus.

It’s turning into a monster for us newsroom folks.

A good journalist lives for the excitement of the hunt – chasing down and putting together those ever-changing but factual deadline stories that we may not always want to write, but have to write.

Journalists often can get in a rut like most everyone else does. We go about our day-to-day routines by covering our meetings, talking to our sources, writing our stories and putting together our newspapers. We throw in a picture or two, give the copy a once or twice over, write a headline, make it look pretty in print and – voila – there you go.

Newspaper 101.

But these past couple of weeks …

I love this profession. I love bleeding ink. I love providing the information you all need to know.

I love the responsibility, the pressure, the deadlines – and the satisfaction that we’re delivering the highest-quality local product you can find.

If we wanted, we could sit back, take it easy and still be the best around. After all, we really are solo as far as a trustworthy newspaper source in these parts and don’t have anyone to push us.

But, we don’t sit back and won’t sit back under my watch.

Recently, this COVID-19 chaos has produced a whirlwind of announcements, cancellations, decisions and mandates. We’ve been spinning so fast in our newsroom that we’re all dizzy.

We’ve written local coronavirus-related stories from several angles – and are continuing to do so – that have had to be rewritten, and then rewritten again under deadline pressure as conditions changed and updates kept pouring in.

Staff writer Crystal Henry and I have exchanged so much information lately that she has replaced my wife as my top iPhone contact.

It’s led to long days and exhausting weeks.

And to be honest, I’m really quite tired.

But, I’ve also thrived.

Even though no one really likes writing about and publishing the “bad stuff,” this is what I signed up for about 40 years ago when I decided newspapering was going to be what I did for a living.

We dread these days but we love these days. We hate what’s going on around us but we’re in our element covering it.

There’s just something special about having the weight of a community on your shoulders as we do our due diligence and pass along what you need to know.

And I won’t even get into how many times we’ve updated our Facebook page or placed something breaking on our website lately.

Many people think the best days of newspapers are behind us. People think the instant access we have to “blip” news, sports, entertainment and information today is all they need.

Wrong.

During this pandemic, your Boerne Star is proving our strong community newspaper is the heart and soul of a community, is thriving and remains the best place for detailed and correct information.

It’s an honor – and essential – for us to partner with entities like the city of Boerne, Kendall County, Boerne ISD and our chamber of commerce to make sure you get the information you need in as timely a fashion as possible. It’s what community partnerships are all about.

So, even though our office doors may be closed to the public for now as we practice our version of social distancing, we’ll be here, there and everywhere throughout the whirlwind – and the next one and the next.

And, I’ll continue to be passionate about being in the information driver’s seat.

Again, it’s what I do, even if it’s more difficult to keep the candle burning at both ends these days.

We will continue to publish. Please continue to read.

And, as always, thanks for doing so.