A peek behind the curtain ...

“Transparency” is the vogue buzzword in my profession these days. Give your reading public a peek behind the curtain, and they’ll learn to trust you more, the pundits say.

Well, we’re going to open the curtains on our journalistic process this weekend (actually, we’re throwing a tent over it, but don’t spoil my analogy here) and give you, our adoring public, a chance to meet the people behind the bylines you read five days a week in The Evening Sun.

In what’s been an annual tradition for pretty much each of Colorscape Chenango’s 15 years, the staff of your hometown daily newspaper will be manning a booth in West Side Park near the main stage both Saturday and Sunday. We’re not selling anything; it’s just our annual meet and greet for the general public. Chained as I often am to my Lackawanna Avenue desk, it’s one of the few times a year I personally get out to see people in the daylight hours, so I’m pretty excited.

I’ll be joined in the tent this year as I am always by my editorial staff – Melissa deCordova, Tyler Murphy, Melissa Stagnaro, Pat Newell, Frank Speziale and the recently-returned Mike McGuire. Our esteemed publisher, Dick Snyder, usually drops by for an hour or two, as does our whiz-kid web guy, Craig Ballinger.

In addition to our intrepid staff, this year we’ve issued a special invitation to the real heroes of the newspaper – those who work for little or nothing at all: our correspondents.

You’ve seen the notation in bylines here and there, and you no doubt recognize some of their pictures from the columns they write ... these are the people who supplement the coverage provided by our full-time, paid staff. Their work is often colorful commentary, pieces aimed at niche audiences our “regular” staff can’t always get around to. And while we unfortunately can’t always afford to pay them a dime, their contributions are nonetheless invaluable.

Saturday afternoon, I’d like to cordially invite you to come to our Evening Sun tent in downtown Norwich to put faces and personalities to the names you already know. At various times throughout the day, you’ll be able to see:

• Bob McNitt, veteran Evening Sun contributor and writer of all things relating to the Great Outdoors.

• Maggie Shayne, mother of our much-missed Jessica Lewis and author of Wednesday’s advice column, “Shayne on You.”

• Randy Glasbergen, a Sherburne resident with a nation-wide reach: his “Better Half” and “Thin Lines” comics appear not only in this newspaper, but in scores of others across the country.

• Shelly Reuben, part-time Afton resident and full-time colorful character, a fire investigator who writes “Tilting At Windmills” for us on Thursdays.

• Todd Campbell, aka “The Toddster,” our local movie critic who pens “The DVD Patrol” on Friday.

• Pat Scott, rogue historian and expert on everything Norwich, another longtime Evening Sun contributor who currently writes “Schools of the Past.”

Wow, that’s quite a group! Did I forget anyone? Probably, but still that should be a unique mix of styles, backgrounds and personalities – as colorful as the Chenangoscape itself.

In addition to the meet & greet (compliments preferred, of course, but we’re interested in your constructive criticism and ideas as well!), we’ve also got some nifty “swag” as they say – freebies for Colorscape-goers. As always, we’ll be giving away free copies of today’s paper (thanks for the 75 cents, if you already bought it!), and this year we’ve got some handy stadium cups with the imprinted ES logo, and some very cool ES-branded temporary tattoos for the kiddies. What would a Chenango County event be without tattoos? Props to Melissa Stagnaro for convincing me that was a good idea (although she has yet to convince me to wear one).

If it rains a bit like they’re saying it will on Saturday, come inside our tent and we’ll offer you shelter from the storm. Rain or shine, we’re looking forward to a wonderful weekend at Colorscape. It’s a spectacular community event, and I’ve always believed this is great way to show you that we – the men and women who bring you Chenango County’s hometown newspaper – are proud to be part of that community.

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