On the Porch

The Monroe County Reporter
August 25, 2010

Welcome Home magazine, 2010

Did you notice anything different when you picked up your Reporter this week?

Maybe a little extra girth, like someone had stuffed an MP offensive lineman inside? Perhaps it took two hands to get it out of your mailbox or out of the store rack.

I hope so, because the post office is certainly charging us for the extra weight. Not to worry — wrapped inside you should have found our baby, no excuse me, babies. Twins.

First out of the womb you should discover 96 pages woven together in a glossy, full-color magazine the likes of which this newspaper has never produced. If I seem like a proud papa, well I guess I should be handing out cigars. Welcome Home is finally home.

This was a project the Reporter and the good folks at the Forsyth-Monroe County Chamber of Commerce have been collaborating on for the past several months. It’s the first time we’ve done a magazine, and if I may be so bold, the result is tremendous. It lets Monroe County put its best foot forward for prospective business and families considering a move here. It’s especially needed in this critical year when the Department of Corrections transfers its headquarters to Forsyth.

I know it sounds like I’m bragging, but Welcome Home is actually a reminder of what good things can happen when you can’t do it by yourself.

Being “newcomers” at this ourselves, we had to ask for a lot of help.

We asked the community for ideas for Welcome Home, and Wiley Crosby at Red Dog suggested “Things to do” in Monroe County. With the chamber’s help, we came up with 65 — you surely can think of more. Still, check them out, I’ll bet you’ll find some you hadn’t thought of.

We asked local photographer Jim Barber of Impressive Images to handle some photography. When we couldn’t find the right cover shot due to all the construction at Tift College, we asked Chad and Paula Cobb to bring their precious family for a 98-degree picnic on the lawn. The result was an excellent cover shot you’ll find inside.

We asked advertisers to join us in putting their best foot forward in the 7,000 copies of Welcome Home. They responded overwhelmingly, which allows us to keep our ad rates much lower than previous chamber guides published by out-of-town companies.

As a result of their support, we were able to grow the magazine from just 34 pages last year by that out-of-town group to 96 pages. That gives us more room to tell potential newcomers about the great schools, the variety of outdoor activities and the warm people who make Monroe County home.

And then, we asked our staff to take on the task of producing a magazine even as they continued to piece together an award-winning newspaper every week.

I told our talented graphics designer Amy Haisten from the beginning I wanted her to lay out the whole thing. I knew her talents — Amy had done magazine work for companies in the metro Atlanta area. And we wanted one designer so that it had a consistent look throughout. She didn’t flinch. Oh, at times she wanted to quit, and probably thought of a few creative ways to ram the magazine down my throat when the project seemed to bog down. But she never flinched.

I am very proud of her and all our staff, and the whole community for its help and support.

Welcome Home is an inviting marketing piece for our community, and it’s also an example of what we can do because we work together.

Oh, I almost forgot our other child. This week’s paper also delivers to you 14 pages devoted to MP football, cheerleaders and the band for the upcoming season. I love this time of year!

And as an extra bonus, we found two more pages inside to devote to C-team softball. Those girls have a lot of spirit this season and hopefully those pages will be the start of another tradition.

Now, if anyone doesn’t think she got her 75 cents’ worth this week, then you just can’t be pleased.



Also published on Amy Haisten and Fancy Turtle Media.