For over a century, Pulaski has relied on one place for local news and sports coverage – The Southwest Times. Founded in 1906 by Southwest Publishers, it would be eight years before the paper adopted the name it is still known by today. Over the years several other local publications have come and gone, but thankfully, one has stood the test of time. That may be because the paper’s philosophy has always been a simple one: cover the news that matters to Pulaski.
Kay Kline, managing editor states, “we are capturing the heritage of Pulaski County. Five days a week we gather first and foremost local news of the day, creating a ‘living local history’ through stories, photos, editorials and letters to the editor, and even ads.”
Until recently, accessing that information has been cumbersome. One could even now pay a visit to the Pulaski County Library and peruse their collection, or visit The Southwest Times’ current location at 34 Fifth St. N. E. in downtown Pulaski and manually search the archive. Today the process is much simpler thanks to newly available technology and the hard work of many local people and organizations. Though some issues are not available, the Digitization Project has made accessing historical content much easier though the use of search engines and the internet. One could search for clues to their ancestry, local history and more from the comfort of home.
Like any other organization, The Southwest Times has changed over the years to keep up with current trends and technology. Some changes have been more subtle; flowers in the flower boxes outside the office, refinishing the floors, painting the walls and adding some new furnishings have all contributed to a newer, more friendly atmosphere. Gone are the days when typesetters would manually paste strips of text onto pages – today this is done digitally using print layout software. Burning press camera negatives onto plates using a light table has given way to essentially printing onto sheets of metal directly. Stacks of paperwork have been reduced in favor of electronic filing systems in our business department, but there is no replacement for friendly customer service, knowledgeable and experienced staff and hard work.
Kline acknowledges, “we’ve also made great strides in updating our operation. With 33 workers (staff and carriers included) we’re accomplishing more with fewer people than we had in the past. Its a tight-ship organization, and we rely on quality people who know how to do their jobs and do them well. New technology isn’t what will keep us moving forwward; its the dedicated people who work here, and the support and respect of our local community who want to see us succeed. Ultimately, they are the ones we will answer to if we plan to have a future.”
Without a doubt, part of the future every newspaper must face is the changing way society lives. The rush is on to get ‘Linked-in’, ‘Facebook’ed and ‘Twitter’ed. Getting the news has gone from being a once-a-day event to an up-to-the-minute experience online, and now, there’s an app for that… at least, there will be in the upcoming weeks.
The Southwest Times has gone live with a brand new web site with many new features, including an electronic (e-) edition. Says Kline, “There is absolutely no replacement for a tactile paper copy of The Southwest Times – we are a newspaper, and that is our core product. We do however acknowledge that, given the changing times, it only makes sense to offer our product virtually to subscribers as well – people who live outside our area or paper subscribers who are on vacation can still keep up with local news when it happens, and that’s what news is all about.”
In addition to the e-edition, many new features will be available on the website. Special sections such as Spirit of Autumn will be available in a flip-book format, events can be submitted electronically for publication in the Community Calendar, and people will be able to comment on select local stories, just to name a few.
Because The Southwest Times is a community-oriented paper, much of the content comes from readers and subscribers. Keep the local heritage alive. To submit story ideas, please e-mail [email protected] or call the paper’s office at (540) 980-5220.