Making Progress

Those of you who regularly peruse The Evening Sun may have noticed that this week’s papers have been a bit ... heavier ... than normal. And yes, I mean that in the literal sense (as opposed to Cheech and Chong slang ... you know ... wow, man, that’s heavy, dude). This, of course, thanks to our annual Progress Chenango series, which – if you hadn’t noticed by now – means an extra two sections included with your newspaper each day this week, by far our hometown daily’s most ambitious, time-consuming and ultimately worthwhile effort of the year.

I should know, as 2013 marked my fourth foray into the journalistic behemoth that is Progress, although if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that each year is unique; each assignment (ten in all) an opportunity to dig deep into the successes and challenges facing our local businesses and communities; and every extra hour spent laboring over the keyboard or reviewing notes is – in the end – well worth the effort.

Trust me, all it takes is one person saying, “Hey, (insert favorite reporter), I really enjoyed today’s piece on (insert favorite Progress story). Great job,” and you’ll see one happy journalist skipping back to the newsroom. You see, it’s not that Progress Chenango is a fearful, dreaded thing, though it might seem that way at times. Instead, it’s the fact that Progress is so ... comprehensive ... in its coverage of all things Chenango County; the features contained in each and every edition are lengthier and more extensive; and there is stress involved, particularly as deadline looms and you realize you may have cut things a bit too close (happens to all of us at some point or another).

Let’s see ... comprehensive coverage; extensive, lengthy features; stress and deadlines ... sounds like a job for an Evening Sun reporter.

You see, in my opinion, Progress is like an amplified, take-a-magnifying-glass-to-each-sentence, broader and more in depth (one could even say exhaustive) version of what we do every day here in the newsroom. It’s interviews and research, writing and re-writing, editing and writing some more. It’s late nights – or early mornings – in the office. It’s bypassing lunch for that perfect photo opportunity. It’s ... well, it’s Progress Chenango. And it’s an impressive piece of work, one that requires the best out of each and every reporter, our sales team and – most of all – our esteemed editor, who gets to put it all together.

Hell, for me it even means skimping on the birthday celebration, as our Progress deadline typically falls the week of said celebration (Jan. 12 for any who would like to send a belated birthday card).

Regardless, as stated, Progress is – more than anything – the biggest and best we offer throughout the year here at The Evening Sun. And this year, I was assigned a number of local businesses I’d never previously reported on for Progress, namely Chobani. And while I have written features on company’s such as Golden Artist Colors and Preferred Mutual Insurance (in 2010 and 2012, respectively) in the past ... well, let’s just say a little experience (three years in my case) goes a long way toward writing a better, more informed piece.

A big shout out to Chobani, as I had never toured the company’s South Edmeston facility; a mind-boggling journey into the world of the popular Greek yogurt. Just had to throw that one out there.

I wasn’t certain how to wrap this week’s column up (even as my normal deadline looms) so, with no idea what I might find, I googled the following: progress quotes. What I found was this ...

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” – Benjamin Franklin

“Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” – Harry S. Truman

“There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.” – Ronald Reagan

Follow me on Twitter ... @evesunbrian

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