Making Progress

Yesterday you might have noticed this extra weight when you picked up The Evening Sun and if you peered inside you’d find two additional sections of newspaper and 12 extra pages of Progress Chenango.

Since about Dec. 14, this has been a constant toil of the writing and advertising staff. Then from about Jan. 16 to the 25th our Editor Jeff Genung can be found at just about any time, day or night, weekends or weekdays trapped inside his office putting all our efforts together.

I know that by the time I’m done I’ve burned through the midnight oil at least a couple of times and coming back on the first “Progress-free” Monday always leaves me feeling like I’m not keeping busy enough when simply preoccupied with my routine work.

Yet for all the groans the creators may have, the final product now sitting in our stands is some of our finest work. Up until the deadline is due, I personally enjoyed Progress. From my point of view I get personal interviews with nearly all the master artists sculpting our Chenango County landscape. We meet with major businesses, talking to both the CEOs and blue-collared employees, we meet with directors and the volunteers who hold our non-profit organizations together, we meet with professionals actively working in their local fields – from the neighboring dairy farmer to the supreme court judge. In the last month I’ve spoken with hundreds of individuals across all spectrums of occupation and opinion with each conversation revolving around where this all might be going and where it’s recently been. This referring to our community, its jobs, its health, its good wills and weeping woes.

Where do you see your (business, agency, organization) in six months? What were your major triumphs of 2009 –new expansions, products, employees? What was your major challenge in the last year and how are you looking ahead to next year’s?

Of course in addition to these type of questions, you’ll usually find a history of the group in the article along with a brief explanation of what our local organizations actually do. How many people reading this can actually tell me what the professionals at Sheffield/Kerry Bio-Science in Norwich are doing? Do you know all that Chenango County Catholic Charities exactly does for the community? Would you like to know how our volunteer services are faring in light of reduced interest or if drugs and crime in our community are really rising? All these issues and a many more can be found in the 10 sections of Progress now hitting the newsstand.

I love Progress because I have the unique opportunity to truly get an intimate view of how so many large parts come together to make the whole of our community. I try to bring this enthusiasm into my articles, often imaging if I knew nothing about these events as a reader (not too far from the truth when I was cub reporter). I hope Progress Chenango gives our readers a window into the world right next to them, a view only we as a local paper can really provide. To read through the edition should be an educational experience.

It’s not all just based on interviews and handouts, in the weeks leading up to our final work the three and a half staff writers toured dozens of facilities and mingled with countless workers.

It was not uncommon to get pulled aside by a proud employee eager to tell you all the fascinating details of their work. Indeed one particularly optimistic and proud artisan creating precision parts at Unison embodied this, pulling me and my tour guide aside for more than 20 minutes while I heard the intricacies of ceramic engineering and design. Nothing could have been more flattering, informative or more inspiring. There are many people just like that gentleman who are so very proud of the work they do each day. As time goes on, I notice more and more that the factors once motivating me (like money) have slowly eroded to the point where now I’m no longer concerned with compensation for my labors but the final products I produce. A good friend of mine, one who’s been around a lot longer than me, told me the secret to being motivated in life was taking pride in all the things you do, or at least trying to everyday. He’s absolutely right.

Learning from the examples so many of our local residents set every day, we too have worked hard in our trade to create Progress Chenango. Thank you to all the people who cooperated with us and to make it possible.

Follow me on Twitter ... @evesuntyler

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