Start the Presses: Let's get it restarted

I thought about titling this column "restarting the presses," as it's been more than two months since I last wrote in this space. This is not because there's been nothing to write about. Lord knows journalists have the ability to wax on regarding nearly any subject, no matter how picayune.

No, it's been for far more mundane reasons: staff changes, vacations, and just plain overwork. And, like all other things, writing a column is a habit, one done best if done as regularly as possible. To that end, I am planning to restart this as a weekly column. Life and work do get in the way, but I think it's important to give readers insight into how our newsroom operates and how its editor thinks.

First, I want to announce a few staffing and columnist additions. Gretchen Meier joined us last month as our Burbank reporter, replacing Chris Cadelago, who accepted a staff position at the San Diego Union-Tribune. Though we were all sad to see Chris go, I have been impressed with Gretchen's ability to dig into one of our more challenging beats.

Gretchen most recently worked at the Orange County Local News Network, a powerful, yet short-lived, online publication based in Costa Mesa.

Rounding out our Burbank coverage, I'm also pleased to announce the addition of Joe Piasecki's weekly "Olive Avenue Confidential," which focuses on Burbank politics. Joe is finishing up his master's at USC, and still does work for the Pasadena Weekly, a (former) sister publication of the Glendale News-Press and Burbank Leader.

I am also very pleased to belatedly announce the addition of Bill Kisliuk to the staff. Bill comes to us from the Napa Valley Register and has a wealth of experience and ability. I feel we were truly lucky to get someone at his level for our newspapers.

Bill covers business and politics for both the News- Press and Leader. He replaces Zain Shauk, who left us earlier in the summer to accept a prestigious two-year fellowship with the Hearst Corporation, which owns several large newspapers — such as the San Francisco Chronicle and Albany Times Union — across the country.

And finally, I am very pleased to announce the addition of Tim Berger to our photo staff. Tim has been with us since July, immediately making his mark with spot news, and covering a trio of fires in his first three weeks on the job. Tim also has a tremendous amount of shooting and editing experience, most recently at the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

With all this great new talent, I believe both the News-Press and Leader will continue to improve. Look for more multimedia features on our website, and better graphics and in-depth articles in the print edition.

But of course, I also want to find out what you think. In addition to the column, I want to restart our "Meet the Editors" functions. Since the last one was in Glendale, it makes sense to have the next one in Burbank. I can't promise, other than myself, who'll be there, but that's always part of the fun:

What: Come by and share your thoughts about the paper, happenings about town, or anything that's on your mind.

When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 9

Where: De Bell Clubhouse Grill, 1500 Walnut Ave., Burbank

Who: Myself and anyone else I can convince to come along.

Why: Because it's vitally important to find out what you, the readers, like, don't like or find just plain silly.

I hope to see you there.

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