One of the things I’ve had to adjust to in my role as managing editor is preparing myself to be bombarded by questions I don’t always know the answers to as soon as I go into work every morning. The other day Standard reporter Bethany Porter (that’s fun to say) hit me with a couple of questions that made me think.
“What happened to the Mini Standard and why don’t we bring it back?” Bethany’s questions were accompanied by a stack of pictures she had of herself as a little girl at several years’ worth of Mini Standard Kite Days, wearing various Kite Day T-shirts I designed and posing with Mini Standard mascot, Bonnie Bear. She went on to tell me how much she loved the Mini Standard and Kite Day as a child and how she still remembers the thrill of winning the Mini Standard writing contest.
Her question had an effect on me I didn’t entirely expect. The Mini Standard was the first real project that I was given complete design control over shortly after I started working at the Southern Standard in 1997. The fantastic Margaret Hobbs, who I always referred to as my work mother, was Mini Standard editor and the task of producing the monthly paper during the school year fell largely to Margaret and myself. I designed the layout of the paper, put all the pages together, and drew countless pictures of Bonnie Bear in cartoons, calendars, T-shirt designs and coloring contest drawings. I worked along with Margaret on the Mini Standard until it ceased production in 2017. That brings me back to the answer I gave Bethany.
It became difficult to find advertisers to support the Mini Standard. As much as we at the Standard love to be a community service, we’re still a business and finances affect what we can do. Ink and paper cost a lot of money, not to mention the extra labor involved. Printing an extra publication requires enough sponsors to make it financially viable. The Mini Standard required printing even more copies than the Southern Standard because we not only produced enough to include in every Southern Standard, we also printed extra copies and delivered them to every elementary school in the county so all children would have access to it.
So when Bethany’s obvious fondness for the Mini Standard came through in her questions, it made me feel good. After all the years Margaret and I put into getting the paper in the hands of Warren County children, the Mini Standard made an impact on at least one young girl who went on to pursue a career in journalism. That made our effort feel worthwhile and it made me appreciate Bethany’s passion to see it live again. I told her if she could find enough sponsors to make bringing it back financially feasible, and if she was willing to oversee it, I’m all for it.
So, that’s where you come in. If you have a business that would like to help sponsor a newspaper for children or if you, like Bethany, have fond memories of the Mini Standard and would like to help us bring it back, let us know. We can’t promise anything but it’s definitely something that would give us a warm, fuzzy feeling (like a hug from Bonnie Bear) if we succeeded. Bethany may not realize what she could be talking herself into.
Standard managing editor Seth Wright can be reached at (931) 473-2191.