The Leader: So far so good as readers respond

By Ed Martin
The Leader: So far so good as readers respond

One of the interesting things about an online newspaper is that one can get instant feedback from the public, that is if you like instant feedback, or you just like being yelled at over the Internet.

After a little over a month, my little online newspaper is getting a few readers, many more than I expected. I assumed it would take time before local readers caught on, or even knew there was a local online newspaper.

Well, there is a local online paper, and it’s The Leader. It’s my honest attempt at bringing a bit of local news to the people of Lemoore who haven’t really had any local coverage since the demise of The Lemoore Leader and The Lemoore Advance, both longtime newspapers that served Lemoore.

While I don’t have any hard statistics, I cannot think of another community our size that for many years was able to support two local weeklies. People in Lemoore liked their local papers, and when they found themselves without their much cherished news, they found other outlets, like reading books or playing catch with their son - oh the horror, the horror.

I started The Leader because I wanted something to do in my spare time – as if I really had any spare time, because as an assistant principal at the local high school, I often arrive early and don’t leave the campus until the final basket has been scored and the final curtain comes down.

On Saturday night my day ended when the last limo left the high school parking lot at 11:30 p.m.

I felt the good people of Lemoore deserved more, and I wanted to be the one to bring back the information they desired. As some of you know, I'm a Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo boy with a degree in Journalism, and much of my youth was spent slaving away at The Leader and then the Lemoore Advance. I’d like to say that when I finally left the Advance, it simply couldn’t survive without me, but obviously that’s not the case. The Advance and Leader suffered the slow agonizing death that many of this nation's newspapers have experienced: too much media and too much internet. Think about that next time you click on

Weekly papers in the “olden” days didn’t get a lot of feedback. Occasionally there was a letter to the editor, but they were far and few between. In today’s online publishing world, feedback can be instantaneous with the punch of a keyboard. Every online paper has a system that provides instant feedback via comments at the end of every story. Still, not many readers take advantage of it, unless of course it’s a controversial issue or a subject dear to his or her heart.

Even major outlets like the New York Times, Washington Post, and L.A. Times with millions of online readers, may generate but a few online comments, so I was especially pleased that a few stories I’ve written, particularly dealing with the Lemoore City Council, have drawn a number of comments, most of them appropriate, a few not. Those that were not appropriate won’t make it into the comments because, as editor and publisher the editor, I have the final say as to what goes in this newspaper.

Most of the comments, which made it into the paper, were to the point, often criticizing the policies or actions of council members. That is expected. A few of them criticized me, and of course I will edit them to make me appear saintly. Just kidding, they go in unedited. 

There were of course the crazy few who like to write comments that any editor in his or her right mind would never publish. Those are the letters that completely miss the point of the story or issue, or take name calling to a new level. Those letters, and there were a couple of both sides of the issue, didn’t make it into The Leader, and letters like that will never appear in The Leader.

Finally, The Leader isn’t just about the Lemoore City Council. In the same week that residents read about the council, they were also able to read stories about a bunch of Lemoore kids earning military academy appointments and major scholarships, Lemoore’s Relay for Life, numerous sports stories that highlight local kids, a local business helping senior citizens, obituaries, local columns and blogs, stories on local businesses, and a big story about Lemoore High School’s “Every 15 Minutes” program, dealing with the dangers of drunk driving.

There is much more to Lemoore than the antics of the Lemoore City Council and I urge all readers to keep that in mind.  However, when The Leader sees a problem it will attempt to comment or look into it, as we did with the council’s unfortunate actions that resulted in the loss of a competent city manager and elimination of the planning department, two actions we think were arrived at rashly and without merit, and which I believe were based on personal philosophy rather than sound financial judgment.

The people of Lemoore deserve better local news, and that’s why I wanted to start The Leader.

Please comment and continue to read The Leader. My entire career in Lemoore has been spent on serving this community, as a volunteer, weekly newspaper editor, educator, city councilman, mayor, and or course as the publisher and editor of The Leader. I like Lemoore and want to preserve the quality of life in our fair city.    

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