Archived Story

Michael Bennett: What makes this publisher tick

Published 10:04pm Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sixty is just a number. It will also be my age in September and a milestone that has prompted me to reflect on my life. One does not have a history until the passage of time.

“Regrets, I have a few,” to quote “My Way,” the song made famous by Frank Sinatra.

One of my regrets is that I wear everything on my sleeve. I rarely hide anything in my life. Why stop now? This week, you will learn a little bit about what makes your publisher tick.

In my newspaper career, I changed jobs 21 times and have worked for nine different companies. Early in my career, I became the employee willing to make a change and to try something new. I had the ability to take something that was not working well and turn it into something better … usually.

Change has been something I’ve always enjoyed.

Moving around the country bringing positive change to both an organization and a community has brought me not only some of my greatest fulfillment, but also my greatest regret in life.

I have paid the high cost of giving up my family life and the ability to build longtime friendships. Sure, I have friends all around the country and I am close with my family. I just have not been there physically nearly as much as I would have liked.

Next week, I will be going back east to spend time with my mom, brothers and sister, children and grandson. I usually see them once a year, although this will be the second time within the last 12 months. I’m doing better. I am always appreciative and somewhat surprised at how when I am with them it is like I’ve never been gone. I love my family for giving me that.

Being a newspaper publisher has been my life for many years now. I am passionate about what I do and driven to serve my community, my employees and my employer.

Sometime I take it too personally when a reader complains about a decision I may have made that I thought would improve what we provide at Leader Publications. Often a decision that upsets one person makes another person very happy.

Being publisher at Leader Publications is a big job with many challenges. While I have been able to be personally active in Dowagiac and Niles, I can’t say the same about our two other newspaper communities, Cassopolis and Edwardsburg. I feel badly about that although it is hard to be everywhere. Still, I will have to find a way.

As I near a full year here, I believe we offer better products than when I arrived. I know we offer much more local content; the new format is easier to hold and read; the design is far superior; Leader Publications is far more involved in the communities we serve; our special products are more interesting; and Leader distribution has improved.

Unfortunately, I am cursed by a sense of never being able to be satisfied. We will continue to push forward to provide you with the best products in the history of Leader Publications.

Negative and positive, I’ve appreciated all of the feedback you have provided to me over the past year. Keep those comments and suggestions coming.

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