Publisher, The Messenger
By Greg Ritchie
The Messenger continues its Sunday Sitdown reports where we speak with our local pastors, educators, businesspeople, students and interesting people of all walks of life in Houston County. To see the full video interview, click on the link below.
What role should The Messenger play in our community?
“I think it is extremely important for local papers to make sure our community is well received when people come to visit. We try our best to be the biggest cheerleader of all of Houston County. We do focus a lot on the schools, because I think the schools are very important. Every school in this county does something really, really well. They all have things they do extremely well and they serve their communities well. And we like to highlight that. It’s very important to us to make sure the children who are doing good things are recognized because at the end of the day, those kids are going to be the future of our community. And we want them to feel good about our community. A lot of people go off and go to college and make their mark in the world, but Houston County is a great place to come back to and many do that. They go out, make their mark, come back and live a great life in retirement here in Houston County. And I think that’s a great thing.”
What changes are coming with the purchase of the Houston County Courier?
“We were very excited to buy the Courier – that enabled us to be the single paper in Houston County. It’s better for the local businesses. They don’t have to say, ‘Well, I need to spend this much money here and this much money there and I don’t know who I’m getting.’ Now, we are the sole newspaper in Houston County. And I think it’s better for the readers. I think it’s better for the county. As I’ve always said, my wife and I have roots here. The owners of the Courier really lived in the Lake Livingston area. We’re here, and when I put something in the newspaper, I’ve got to go to the grocery store or retail shop or walk down the sidewalk. I have to live with what I put in this newspaper. And it’s important to me to make sure everybody’s happy with what we’re doing. We put a positive light on news, because we’re all in this thing together as a community. The retail shops, the mom and pop’s – everybody here. We have to work together to make this community thrive. And we just want to do our part.”
What does the future hold for The Messenger?
“I think the roadmap has already been laid. We look at larger towns, big cities, and we know what’s coming. We know social media is the future of this business. The Houston Chronicle is not much bigger than The Messenger when you pull it out of the newsstand, these days. Social media is king. Everybody’s got a smart phone and we have to be able to communicate with our readership. Anybody can put anything they want on social media – and it doesn’t necessarily have to be true. It could be partially true. We need to maintain our integrity of printing the truth. When we go into a meeting, we’re going to print what happened at the meeting. We’re not going to add conjecture, have an opinion of what we think might be happening behind the scenes. That’s what social media is for. I think you are going to see a lot of things from The Messenger that’s will surprise people. We went to the Kennard baseball playoff games and did a live broadcast online – a lot of fun and a great time. Look for more of that in the future. We will be expanding our website and through social media and getting our word out there as well. So people will have something to read that they can trust.”
Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]