A Q&A with United Way: Leader Publications
Leader Publications' General Manager, Ambrosia Neldon, recently spoke with United Way about Leader's commitment to our communities. Check out the back and forth below!
United Way: Leader Publications is very active in the community and regularly reports on stories that highlight good works being done by local residents. Coming from a media standpoint, why do you think it is so important to showcase local communities and their accomplishments?
Ambrosia: The sole purpose of a community newspaper is to provide the community with important information, be that reporting the news or connecting local businesses with their customers. In local newspapers, positive, uplifting news is equally as important as the “bad news” so to speak. Without a local news source, residents have no way of gaining factual information about the communities in which they reside. We take that role very seriously.
United Way: Tell us about the Leader Publications relationship with United Way and what similar values you think our organizations share.
Ambrosia: United Way touches so many aspects of the communities we cover — from feeding children who may otherwise go hungry on the weekends to providing relief for those struggling after natural disasters like the recent flood. It is our responsibility as community newspapers to inform our readers of the resources available to them and the organizations responsible for providing assistance, so our coverage of United Way efforts is an easy decision.
Similar to United Way, Leader Publications feels it is important to not only provide information to our communities, but to be active participants in the communities we serve. This means being active partners with local chambers and civic clubs, sponsoring youth efforts, and, perhaps most importantly, giving back to our communities. United Way offers so many opportunities to accomplish this goal — in so many different ways.
United Way: Leader Publications support of UWSM was outstanding this year. Not only did you have an amazing Kick-Off to your campaign, your team volunteered raking leaves for the Senior Day of Action and went on an impact tour of United Way funded partners. Why do you believe it is so vital for your team to support United Way and its efforts?
Ambrosia: Organizations like United Way are crucial to the survival of any community. The resources United Way and its partners provide impact nearly every person in our region at some point in their lives. A large portion of our staff has chosen to relocate to Niles to work at Leader Publications, and is unfamiliar with the region.
The United Way impact tour offered an awesome opportunity for these people to become acquainted with the area in a unique way, and volunteering with and supporting United Way reminds our staff of our commitment to the communities we serve. Volunteering is an excellent, fun and rewarding way to network.
United Way: What community issues are important to your team and how do you keep your team engaged?
Ambrosia: To put it simply, ALL issues impacting our readers are important to our team. With a small team working such a large area and producing so many products, we continuously ask ourselves, “does this matter to our readers? How does this impact them?” Being civically engaged helps our employees learn the answers to these questions.
United Way: During the recent Flood Disaster Relief, Leader Publications made sure to keep everyone updated with the efforts with coverage from every angle. How will Leader Publications continue to provide accurate and important information about the community, to the community in the years to come?
Ambrosia: In all “spot news” situations, our team asks itself, “what do our readers need to know?” and divides and conquers to find this information as quickly as possible. Although people typically think of the news team as the main staff of the newspaper, without every member of our team, the news cannot be reported. For example, in the event of natural disasters or other emergencies, our distribution team works hard to distribute the newspapers to readers in spite of weather barriers. Our advertising personnel works with local businesses to determine how best to react to whatever the situation, and our printing and mailing personnel ensure that the news is printed and delivered to our readers.
We wholeheartedly believe that it requires a variety of media types to reach all readers, and to document historic events such as the flood in February. We are dedicated to providing real-time updates in these sorts of crises via our website and social media, and then digging deeper to flesh out the story for our printed newspapers (which is later also published online). This model works well for the folks in our communities, and I suspect it will for years to come.