‘Essential in your lives.’ New CDT editor lays out plans for community input

In the first months of 2019, our community has faced back-to-back tragedies that rattled our region and left us all wanting answers. From January’s shooting massacre and last month’s mental health call that left one dead, Centre Daily Times journalists were on the scene, bringing you updates in real time, and we’re still seeking answers about how those events happened, what they mean about mental health, race relations and public safety, and how our community can heal.

As the new editor of the Centre Daily Times, I want you to know that we will continue to dig into these issues and others that affect your lives. That’s important to me as a journalist, and it’s important to me as a member of this community who is raising a family here.

Monday marks my first day as executive editor, having worked closely with Adam Smeltz. I’m grateful for the energy Adam brought to our newsroom and community, and wish him luck as he and his wife, Lexi Belculfine, take on new adventures in Philadelphia.

Looking ahead, I don’t have to tell you about the changes the CDT and the news industry as a whole are navigating. I will tell you what is not changing: our commitment to holding leaders and institutions accountable, to telling you about projects and plans that will directly affect your lives, to breaking news that makes a concrete and lasting difference. Faced with the same challenges as countless other news organizations across the country, we’re focusing in on that core mission because we intend to be essential in your lives and to deliver the news and information you need to make the best decisions for your families.

I’m excited to be leading a group of talented and hard-working journalists as we put laser-focus on the issues that affect our community. In February, we examined the volunteer firefighter shortage — told through exceptional storytelling, photos and videos. This month, we launched our Pennsylvania Influencers project, which examines the rural broadband crisis and how it impacts education, health care, business and quality of life in our rural communities. Our aim is to link you, our readers, with these experts in a civil, thoughtful discussion about solutions that elected officials and communities can pursue together. It’s an ambitious series that I’m excited for you to read and discuss.

And as we move forward in the evolution of the CDT, we can’t do it without your input or support. We are your newsroom, and it’s important that we know what matters most to you and how we can be essential in your lives. Later this month, we’ll launch a survey about what you want from your local news source. What are we missing? What do you want more of? Where do you read us online and offline, and how can it be a better experience?

You don’t have to wait for that survey if you have ideas today, and don’t think that your feedback should end after you send it. Starting in May, I’ll host monthly meet-the-CDT meetings at locations throughout the county. I’ll be there, along with a member of our staff — it’s important to put a face to the bylines you read. In the meantime, reach me anytime at 231-4617 or jmcallister@centredaily.com. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/centredaily, Twitter @centredaily and Instagram @centredailytimes.

Thank you for reading and thank you for supporting your local newsroom.