Some day when you have nothing else to do and you want a good laugh, you should stop by the Mesquite Local News office on a Thursday morning when we have our weekly staff meeting.
What you’ll find are three old(er) people and two young(er) ones spending two hours discussing upcoming events, stories and articles we think the community will be interested in learning about. None of us make more than $30 an article no matter how long the meeting, event or writing time it takes for us to craft a story in which we think you’ll be interested.
Burton Weast covers a three-hour water board meeting and it takes him four hours to write the article; it’s $30. Lou Martin sits through a three hour football game and it takes him three hours to write the article, its $30. A three-hour arts event followed by two hours of crafting the article; $30. That’s what we all signed up for.
You don’t get rich in this business.
What you’ll also find at our Thursday meetings are people who are very committed to caring about their community and yet very conscious of the fine line on which they walk.
Burton Weast is on the Mesquite Regional Business Inc. Board of Directors and also involved in developing Mesquite Works, the new workforce development agency that will help put people to work. He brings a lifetime of experience in those areas.
Teri Nehrenz is heavily involved in the arts community, primarily through the Virgin Valley Theatre Group. She is extremely talented in that area and, more importantly, devoted to the success of bringing high-level performances to local audiences.
Lou Martin stands in a field of his own literally – a baseball field, a football field, a basketball court. He is a major factor in Mesquite’s success with the Virgin Valley Little League. In fact, it was his idea to establish the program locally and has been one of the main reasons it has grown so phenomenally over the last few years.
Kathy Poindexter, MLN advertising salesperson, was recently selected to the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce and also serves as a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society.
Stephanie Frehner, in a league of her own, has been involved in creating and growing job fairs over the last year that have helped people find employment in the local area. She’s worked with local businesses and people wanting work to bring them together in a successful way. Stephanie has also worked incessantly in the background in many other areas to help the local community grow. She is now vying for a seat on the Greater Mesquite Arts Foundation Board of Directors.
I am an elected official on the Virgin Valley Water District Board of Directors and the recently formed Mesquite Opportunity Regional Fund Board of Directors. I’m also finishing a two-year term on the GMAF Board of Directors. And I’m a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America.
What do we all have in common, other than a willingness to work for cheap?
We are dedicated to our community and care about its success.
If you attend one of our staff meetings what you’ll also find is a very deep line in the sand between our community activities and what we’ll report on.
“Hey Burton, you need to cover next week’s Water Board meeting.”
“Teri, you can’t write about the upcoming play. Who else wants to cover that?”
“Sorry Stephanie, someone else will have to cover that meeting. You’re part of it.”
“I’ll cover the MRBI meeting and the upcoming workforce development meeting. No problem.”
And so it goes.
One by one, we assign different people to report on different activities, meetings, events, or articles of interest.
Most of all, we get the idea that we can’t report on activities of which we’re a part. We understand the line in the sand.
And none of us pass the article on to the person we’re writing about.
But that won’t stop any of us from being a part of our community.
I’ll stop short of saying that being involved in local activities and contributing to a successful community is a requirement for working at Mesquite Local News. That somewhat cheapens the commitment all of us have made. Rather, we’ve all made a personal decision to be a part of our community’s success of our own volition.
I will also say that all of us understand that it takes time, energy, and willingness to help our community grow and succeed. All of us are willing to pay that price – even if it’s more than $30.
You can call it controversial if you want. We call it a commitment to caring about our community.
We at the Mesquite Local News challenge all the other businesses in Mesquite to agree to our three C’s.