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Beth Welbers
Geneseo Republic

Recently I got an email from another soon-to-be-former subscriber asking about the articles that were probably NOT local news.  Actually, in the last month I have received three of them. 

Beth Welbers editor Henry County Republic

It began with questioning the addition of book reviews on the USA Today best seller list, interviews with John Mellencamp and a story about the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. No, I will agree those have nothing to do with Henry County directly. I'd be stretching the truth if I tried to tell you they are. 

I have been putting out this publication the last 2 1/2 years with the assistance of some very dedicated correspondents. Claudia Loucks has her finger on the pulse of everything in Geneseo, Atkinson and Annawan. Mindy Carls is probably the biggest cheerleader the Orion community has, and vigilant in covering Cambridge with whatever she learns about. Carol Townsend sends over whatever she knows happening in Galva. Tom Akers does his best to keep Ridgewood athletics in the news. That said, we still don't have the staff that previously assembled the paper. 

Obituaries and layout are now outsourced to a "Team" who decides what fits and how to fill it. That's how you end up with book reviews, John Mellencamp and Minnesota police. I don't get to see what goes into our paper until it arrives in my mailbox on Friday or Saturday. 

The parent company, Gannett, focuses on digital, or the online version. Enhancements have been made to make it easier for the editor to tailor the website to the reader's preferences. The regional "teams" will add stories that they think will interest readers overall.  

The old website software was cumbersome and hard to post to. Gannett has given small papers like the Republic access to the software used by USA Today. With those enhancements, stories are posted to the website long before the paper is ever printed.   Sharing them to social media is a snap. Searching across the site is easy.

What I want to urge hard copy readers to do is to log into www.geneseorepublic.com and see what is there. You will have access to all the articles myself and my little team put together, as well as stories shared regionally from Galesburg and Kewanee. You will also have access to the USA Today network of papers, which includes regional publications like the Peoria Journal Star, The Springfield Journal-Register, and the Galesburg Register-Mail. 

I think you will find the material we put online overall local, informative, and up to date,  (The only difference is that you can't peel potatoes into the online version, something I do with the hard copy paper. )

For those of you who have mastered the website thing, I'd like to let you know that an app for your cell phone is in the plans, but at this date, no timeline is given.