Do you remember what you were doing in May of the last century? The people at The Suffield Observer do. No, we don’t know what you were doing, we know what we were doing. We know what we were doing – publishing the first edition of our hometown paper, The Suffield Observer. Since that time, we have published ten issues a year, even “publishing” online-only editions during the pandemic when virtually our entire volunteer staff could not enter the office. Each edition contains approximately 90 articles and 60 pictures, meaning that by the time we reach our 25th anniversary we will have published about 22,500 articles, each prepared and submitted by members of organizations in our community, downloaded, edited, prepared for printing, and proof-read by volunteers. Each resident of our town receives a free copy of each edition, delivered without cost to their mailbox. Every issue is guided by our mission, “to build a sense of community throughout the town of Suffield and to provide a forum where all sides of issues may be addressed.”
Publishing a newspaper with volunteer staff, financed virtually entirely by advertisers, is hard. But we firmly believe that everyone (including those who tell me that they use the publication to line their birdcage-I never ask if that is before or after they read it), benefits from having a local newspaper. Only in this paper are local issues debated, local people highlighted, local events publicized and the vacation pictures of town residents to remote locations shared with neighbors. Therefore, we have decided to celebrate both our little paper and our town. Throughout the year leading to the 25th anniversary of our first edition, we will take steps to recognize, celebrate and honor that accomplishment. You may notice such tributes, large and small with a special commemorative masthead. We will publish articles recognizing our volunteers, including some who have been volunteering since the very first edition as well as articles offering special thanks to our advertisers, again including some who have been with us throughout this ride. We reveal “how the sausage is made,” explaining all the steps that go into the creation of a single month’s edition. We expect to republish certain articles or photos that are deemed worthy of a “remembrance.”
This should be an interactive event. If you recall a “Where in the World” photograph as particularly noteworthy, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org telling us of your choice. The same goes for a particular article or profile that appeared during the last few decades. We know that each of you may not agree with each other on all events all of the time, and I certainly know not everyone agrees with everything that is submitted to and published by The Suffield Observer. But in the end, we are all in this together. So let us share fond memories of this special year as we look forward to the town’s and our paper’s future.