A Team Of Seasoned Pros, Talented Rookies

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John Naughton

The Payson Roundup has a small but talented and dedicated staff. Some have been with us for many years, others just a few.

Reporter Max Foster joined the Roundup part time in 1986, and recently came on board full time after retiring from a career in education; and Teresa McQuerrey came to us from the Camp Verde newspaper seven years ago. Suzanne Jacobson, from Hagadon newspapers in Idaho, and Alexis Bechman, fresh out of the UofA journalism school, both joined us about a year and a half ago. Tom Brossart was editor of the Sedona newspaper, among others, along with Pete Aleshire, former editor of Arizona Highways and Andy Towle, of the White Mountain Independent, are also relative newcomers to the Roundup — joining us just over two years ago.

Like the readers who sustain us, they’ve come to Rim Country by diverse paths and stay now for the love of it. While their backgrounds are diverse, they have one thing in common — all are award-winning journalists. What each has is the desire to go beyond standard newspaper fare to provide our readers with stories, pictures and graphics that are relevant, informative, entertaining, useful and fun.

For our news team, this work is a labor of love, borne out of a passion for this place, its people and their stories.

Surprising and delighting our readers with stories that touch them, move them to action, enlighten them and, at times, upset them, makes this work a privilege. And the readers who make this all possible with their subscriptions, also inspire us with their stories of courage and heart, which they trust us to tell. It’s not an easy job, but it’s a privilege taken very seriously.

The unsung heroes are the people who work tirelessly in producing the Roundup. Our graphic design production team is led by Sherrie McQuerrey who joined the Roundup some 28 years ago. Graphic designers Melinda McQuerrey came to us in 1980 and Dave Rawsthorne in 1989. The “rookie” on the team is ad designer Jay Cooper who came on board in 1994. These folks have seen the most change in our industry. They remember the times when we cut and pasted our pages together and shot them on a huge camera to produce a page size negative. Today, the production department is a clean, quiet office with computers taking the place of wax and hot metal.

The pressroom is still the place to get ink in your blood, as well as your hands, shoes and that new shirt. Head pressman Bob Earl has been with us 11 years coming from the Prescott Courier. Pressman Dennis Fendler joined us in 1996 and young Shawn Hamilton has been learning the trade as our press assistant since 2008. This group of pros somehow keeps our 1965 Goss Community Press running smoothly. They are the ones who insist on using 100 percent recycled paper, out of the Snowflake paper mill, and soy-based ink. In comparison to the production department, it’s anything but clean and quiet.

Bobby Davis joined the Roundup in 2005 as a sales representative and today is advertising director in charge of all advertising. Display ad sales representative Frank LaSpisa came on board last year and Diane Cocroft recently rejoined the staff after an extended vacation. Paula Van Buskirk, who came to us in 2007, and Carol McFarland work the front desk inputting classified ads, as well as sharing in receptionist duties.

After all this writing, production and printing, your newspaper gets delivered to your home because of Patty Behm, who joined us in 2005, and her crew of auto route carriers: Bill Barr, Shannon Branstetter, John Dryer, Julie Eckman, Teri Hamilton, Beck Jones, Carmela Malucci, Michelle O’Brien, Lynette Willis and Ron Woodward.

Wind, rain, sleet or snow, these folks get our “hot off the press” issue to your home, stores and free-standing racks. All those inserts from major companies are also Patty’s responsibility with her crew of wonderful ladies, Marie Knaus, Barb Stokes and Amber Peterson, who put each one inside your paper by hand.

Finally, Julie Wantland, operations manager, joined the Roundup in 1993. Julie has the large task of running our accounting department and handles all personnel issues. Julie’s tireless efforts keep us all toeing the line.

I am extremely proud of the entire Roundup family. All have performed to the highest standards during a very difficult economic time. However, I wouldn’t expect anything less, it’s who we are, it’s what we do.

Congratulations on your 2009 Newspaper of the Year award. You deserve it!

And, to you, our loyal readers and advertising customers, a heartfelt thank you.

— John Naughton, Publisher

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