Archived Story

Michael Caldwell: And I thought Michigan was cold

Published 8:54am Thursday, October 10, 2013

Although Buckeye and Wolverine fans may disagree, I am quickly finding out that Ohio and Michigan aren’t all that different.

Many people have read the formal announcement of my hiring as the publisher/president of Leader Publications LLC, but I wanted to take a minute to help you get to know me a bit better.

My name is Mike Caldwell. I am a 38-year-old native of Ashland, Ky., part of a Tri-State region where Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia intersect.

Family is important to me. My wife of nearly 10 years, Rae Ann, and I have two beautiful daughters, Avery, 5, and Emma, 3.

My passion for writing in general, and newspapers in particular, probably began when I was just a little older than them.

I would immerse myself in comic books where the main characters worked at iconic newspapers like the Daily Bugle or the Daily Planet. As I got older and realized that it wasn’t going to work out for me to be Superman or Spiderman, I got excited about being Clark Kent or Peter Parker.

These fictional journalists set the bar high for me because, in a lot of ways, what they did in their regular identities was just as important as what they did while wearing a costume.

I decided to pursue a newspaper career because no other form of media comes close to allowing you to connect with a subject and tell personal stories that mean something to the community.

I graduated from Marshall University in West Virginia. After some college and freelance work for my hometown paper, I volunteered for an unpaid internship at The Ironton Tribune, a daily newspaper that serves a community very similar to those here in southwest Michigan.

The unpaid part didn’t last too long. I think I was making about $5 an hour a week or so later and really thought I had made it.
I left The Tribune last week after 12 years, eight of which l had served as the publisher. We achieved some great things there and helped make the newspaper relevant to the community.
It wasn’t about me. It was about the team. But I believe in always looking forward.

Let me tell you, after just three days, I can say that there is a great team here at Leader Publications. I look forward to being a part of it.

I am not going to tell you much about the kind of person that I am because, in the end, these would only be words on paper. I would much rather let my actions speak for themselves over the coming days and months.

Change is often scary. It has been a little scary for my family and I as we move seven hours away from the region we have called home most of our lives. It has been scary for a newspaper staff who are understandably anxious about getting a new boss. And it is scary for the readers who hold their newspapers very near and dear to their hearts.

Let me assure you that my goal isn’t to come in and change lots of things just for the sake of change. I want to use my experience to help make Leader Publications the best community newspaper it can be.

Our goals will center around three key principles: To tell compelling stories that showcase our great people who call this region home, to create marketing opportunities that help our businesses reach consumers and to be a partner that leads the way on positive community initiatives.

Let me know what you think we do well. Let me know what you think we can improve upon. Most of all, let me know how Leader Publications can meet its goal of being YOUR newspaper.

My family and I are very excited to be part of the community, but I have to say I thought it would be colder. Based on the warm welcome we have received, we look forward to being a part of the community for years to come.

Michael Caldwell is publisher/president of Leader Publications LLC. He can be reached at (269) 687-7700 or by email at mike.caldwell@leaderpub.com.

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