Despite having its offices flooded and portions of its roof torn off, the three-person staff of the 1,200-circulation paper has kept up with the story all weekend, posting stories and photos to its Web site, as well as planning a six-page special edition slated for later today.
"I have been devastated by what I have seen, and am wondering if I still have a job," said Editor Mark Anderson, the paper's lone newsroom staffer, who works along with his wife, advertising manager Laurie Anderson, and a circulation manager. "I have not been as affected by it as [local residents]. But knowing so many of them, I feel like I owe it to them to try to give them perspective."
Anderson, who lives 30 miles away in Pratt, Kan., spoke to E&P via cell phone as he drove in slow traffic along State Highway 54 Monday morning along with hundreds of others seeking to return to the community that has gained international attention following the tragic tornado. Newspapers from the nearby Wichita Eagle to the Daily Record of Glasgow, Scotland, have reported on the tornado that has destroyed nearly every business and home.
Although its offices are unusable and most of its readers and advertisers are gone for the moment, the Signal has continued to cover the story, posting items to the Web through its sister daily paper, the Pratt Tribune. Both publications are owned by Gatehouse Media and printed at the company's presses in McPherson, Kan.
While certainly nothing is more important than the tragedy that has befallen Greensburg, a closer examination the preceding excerpt from the Editor & Publisher article shows some of the problems faced by newspapers in GateHouse Media (and other such companies) and the communities which they serve.
The newspaper has a one-man editorial staff, and that man lives 30 miles away. Since he is married to the advertising manager, it would appear that she also lives 30 miles away. It is almost laughable to hear newspaper companies cut services to the communities they serve and then complain because they are losing circulation.