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Editor's Notebook, Edition No. 1


I'm Robin 'Roblimo' Miller, and I'll be your editor today. And for a good long time into the future, I hope.

I've edited news and discussion Web sites for over 10 years. Before that, I wrote freelance for two newspapers whose editors enjoyed teaching young writers even though, one of them noted, "they always turn on you in the end."

Rumors that my predecessor as Bradenton Times editor, Vinnie Safuto, had a heart attack, are untrue. I was the one who pulled that trick. I was supposed to start this job on March 1, but about 2 a.m. that morning I felt a burning in my chest and ended up admitted to Blake Medical Center, where Dr. Christopher J. Davis and a number of other docs, nurses, and helpers catheterized and stented me and generally fought Death and won.

I hereby nominate Christopher J. Davis, M.D., for the title of Manatee's Studliest Doctor. I was a particularly rough patient for a lot of reasons, but he persevered. I'm glad he did.

BUT WAIT! That's not all! The Bradenton Times Publisher Joe McClash and my other soon-to-be coworkers expected me to show up Friday, all heart-freshened and healthy, but Friday morning, early a.m., Whoops!

Except this time it was shortness of breath, a term I never fully understood before: I took a breath, and it wasn't long enough. I took another, and it was even shorter, And the one after that, shorter yet, until a final attempt at inhaling that totally failed, after which I watched the circle of light that is my consciousness get surrounded and eaten up by darkness.

My wife, Debbie, says I was fluttering and shaking, and she didn't think I was going to make it. But by then the ambo unit was at the hospital -- Manatee Memorial this time -- and once again, the docs managed to kick the "restart" switch on my life, so I am sitting up in my hospital bed typing this.

Too bad, all of you who have wished me dead over the years because you didn't like articles that exposed your less savory practices. I'm still alive. I'm still kicking. Oh, yeah.

You've seen some other new bylines this week in The Bradenton Times, too. We are actively recruiting citizen journalists to work with us, and we're even paying minor amounts (usually $20) for selected articles about people, places or events. We also welcome opinion writing about almost any issue, although we currently don't pay for it.

All we ask of you as a Bradenton Times writer is that you must be able to write reasonably well, you must be local, your work must be original rather than something that's already been published elsewhere (even if you wrote it yourself), and that you spell everyone's name right and refrain from personal attacks. Except on me.

Why me? Because editors have always been attacked by readers for being too liberal or too conservative or for emphasizing one story too much while ignoring another one that was obviously way more important to anyone with half a brain.

Except that here at The Bradenton Times, you can do something about a story that should have been written, but wasn't: write it.

Think we're moving too far to the left? Write something leaning the other way. We'll run it. Are we leaning too far to the right? Get out that keyboard and fight, fight, fight. Except no personal attacks, lies or other outright silliness. Please.

On every page, right below our name, it says, "More than an Online Newspaper." So we're also working with online video. Aleady, in our infancy, we are producing more (and we like to think, better) video than any other local newspaper Web site.

If you want to be a TV-style video reporter, this is your chance. Same big pay as for writing, but also the same chance to get your work out there, and maybe get some paid production work as a result. (Not a joke; my video business info runs at the end of every Bradenton Times video *I* make, and I get calls because of it.)

Do you have ideas for us? We're willing to listen. Our thought at The Bradenton Times is that news should be a dialogue, not a monologue. So let's get the conversation going...

Thanks for reading,

- Robin 'Roblimo' Miller

Editor and Reporter, The Bradenton Times

Bradenton Florida, USA



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