Updated: Apr 21
If you’re reading this, thank you. The June edition of the Cheviot Gazette will mark one year in its printed format. I looked over each issue before I started writing this piece. It makes me laugh as much as it makes me satisfied with how our little paper has evolved over this past year.
When the Gazette first launched back in February of 2019, it was only intended to be an online publication. My thinking at the time was that print is dead; only dinosaurs read newspapers. That might still very well be true, but not in the City of Cheviot.
Once the paper started to gain a little traction, friends of mine would mention to me that we should release a printed edition as well. I have never seen any of these people touch a newspaper in their lives, much less read one, so I didn’t particularly give their suggestion much thought.
It wasn’t until I got the idea to contact the Mayor of Cheviot, Samuel Keller, and City Council, that a window of light for a printed edition was able to creep through. At the time, I was toying with the idea of creating a photo book of the city. I wanted the book to include both current and historic pictures of Cheviot. I decided to reach out to Mayor Keller and City Council for some possible quotes, which I thought would give the project a little more credibility. I don’t think our public officials were my biggest fans at the time, and probably rightfully so, but I did receive a response from Mayor Keller giving me City Historian, Rich Martin’s contact information. Despite being on the Mayor’s naughty list he still took the time to answer me and point me in the right direction. I think this speaks volumes about his character.
Rich Martin, and the entire Cheviot Historical Society, which includes Fire Chief Robert Klein, Tony Michel, and Roberta Michel, have been nothing but a complete pleasure to work with. It also gave me a much-needed foundation on what direction to pursue with the Cheviot Gazette and the city’s history. They won’t take any credit for this, so, I will say it for them: without Mayor Keller or the Cheviot Historical Society, this newspaper wouldn’t exist in the way it does today. So, to all of you, thank you; your interest in what our team is attempting to achieve with this publication means more to me than you know.
Rich Martin and I hit it off right away. If I had a question, he provided an answer. If I needed an old photograph for a story, he was able to locate it. The guy is a history gift that keeps on giving. Rich is a student of history as much as he is a collector of the past. That being said, it didn’t take him long to start advocating for the production of a printed version of the Gazette. I tried brushing off the idea, but if you know Rich, you know he is persistent. Eventually, I came around to the idea even though I didn’t have the slightest clue as to what I was getting myself into.
That first paper was a complete nightmare. It was as if Murphy himself came into my home and taught me a lesson in law. The first edition was a total of four loose pages filled with content on the front and back. It wasn’t until the following edition the idea of binding the pages together occurred to me. Every single page placed in each gazette is put there by hand. Over the past year, we’ve become a well-oiled sweatshop. The evening before our printed debut, I worked through the night without sleep making as many copies as I possibly could. Then it happened: my toddler woke up. I don’t know if any of you have had the pleasure of having a plethora of pieces of paper around a crazed toddler before, but as someone who has the first-hand experience of such an onslaught, let me tell you, there are some things you can't unsee.
It wasn’t until it was time to get my son and the sack of newspapers into the car for our first delivery that fatigue and irritation nearly broke my resolve. As I opened the door of my car, I sat the newspapers on top so I could strap my son into his car seat. It was then he saw his opportunity, and with one unmerciful lunge of his arm, he seized it. I’m convinced God was also in on the joke as a gust of wind swooped down from the heavens at that exact moment on an otherwise peaceful Cheviot morning. As the papers hurled through the sky with me in disbelief at the sudden change of events, I did my best to chase them down with one hand while keeping hold of my son with the other. It looked like quite the spectacle, I would imagine. Reaching for papers with one leg and grabbing frantically with my one free hand sent my son into uncontrollable laughter. If anyone other than my son was laughing at that moment a range of emotions might have gotten the better of me. But, looking at him I couldn’t help but shake my head and join in on the joke. It is rather funny looking back on it now.
For our first two editions, the Cheviot Gazette was a free newspaper for the public. To be honest, I never wanted to charge for the paper, and it really wasn’t until the demand made the cost of production unfeasible and I was forced to do so. So, I decided we will sell subscriptions to the paper and put out a limited amount of free copies. I remember the sale of our first yearly subscription bringing me a feeling of surrealism before the daunting realization set in, “I just committed myself to this for a year.”
I’m mentioning this story because there are certainly moments when I’ve asked myself “why am I doing this?” It most definitely isn’t for the money; I can tell you that. But such is true for the entire staff here, most of which I didn’t know when they contacted me about contributing their services. You wouldn’t believe the number of hours our staff puts into this publication. I don’t say that for credence, I say it because I still can’t believe it myself. Between that, and the messages I receive from residents about their kids reading the paper, or how they really enjoyed a certain article, or just taking time out of their day to pass along some words of encouragement I imagine is payment enough for all of us. I don’t think any of us ever had dreams of being a big shot journalist, I know I didn’t.
So, when I look back at this past year of print, I am both humbled and honored. I’m honored because I think you’re reading this newspaper for the same reason we write this newspaper. I set out to deliver a paper that presented the facts and just the facts but even so, I don’t believe that is why we’ve been able to retain the readers we have so far. The Cheviot Gazette is a partnership between what makes this city such a wonderful place to live and the people who call it home. Myself, as well as the entire Cheviot Gazette team, look forward to delivering the news to your doorstep once a month, for another year to come.
Thanks for making that possible,