Newspaper staff works to keep community informed (Part 2 of 3)
The Okmulgee Times recently had the honor of being nominated as one of Okmulgee County’s Unsung Heroes. To be honest, everyone was pleasantly surprised as well as being humbly pleased with a sense of gratitude. Join me for Part 2 of this feature of the Okmulgee Times staff.
— Katina Holland
Advertising Representative, Sasquatch Printing & Office Manager Holland has been with the Times for eight years and has held just about every position. From reception to classifieds, legals to subscriptions and sales, Holland is the office guru.
“I make sure we’re taken care of, make sure we have what we need so nobody burns out,” she said. “I don’t want anyone to be overwhelmed. I like our team-they’re family. I’m happy with who we have right now. I want to keep my team and I want to make sure that everyone has what they need, and that means emotionally, physically and supply wise.”
What is Sasquatch Printing and how did we come up with the name?
“So, I do Sasquatch Printing now, which is what we call our promotional and printing products (branch) – ‘If you can think it, we can ink it.’
Jeff Mayo, publisher of the Okmulgee Times and Henryetta Free-Lance, believes in the ‘Squatch’. Matter of fact, if he ever pulls up, look at the back of his vehicle because he’s got a Sasquatch on the back of his vehicle. And that was long before he came up with Sasquatch Printing. “He is a Bigfoot believer … it’s an attention grabber … A lot of people want something that begins with an A as their name, because that keeps you right at the top of the Google search and the phonebook and everything else but really you want something that’s gonna be a little bit in your face…”
You also write the recipe column, do you enjoy it?
“That was way back in 2017 when I started my column,” she said. “I enjoyed it very much at first, but it’s hard to do something this long, and always come up with something new. I’m not gonna lie … there are weeks that are very hard for me to come up with content … usually Thursday and Friday I work on trying to figure out what I’m going to do so I’m ready, and … make my grocery list … and Saturday, we go to the store. Saturday and Sunday I am already cooking so I am not struggling to finish it all by Tuesday.”
What do you think about the Okmulgee Times’ nomination?
“I think it’s great,” she said. “I mean, honestly I do. We work as a team here …We’re family here and I say that a lot. While I don’t need the credit for myself, I love that the rest of the team will. Few know Wes, our designer, for example. He is amazing at what he does and so very important to the overall workings, but he is forever in the background. So I am happy for the light to shine on everyone here. Each of us has our part to play. We care for each other. When one of us has issues we, the others of us, care. We also step up to help when we need to.
“More than that, we’re the go-to for the town. While there may be people out there that don’t believe in the paper and they think Facebook gets them everything they need, they want information, who do they call? They don’t go to Facebook. They call the newspaper. They call the newspaper because the newspaper knows … we’re also that tangible thing that you can put your hands on. You can’t cut out your child’s photo on Facebook. But you’re gonna cut out when Larry puts them in the sports pages. You’re gonna cut out when they’ve got perfect attendance and they’ve got that certificate from the school. We’re that physical record of what goes on. That people are good people. Yes, we have a lot of bad … can’t help that. There’s bad everywhere. But we’re deliberate about focusing on the good too. I am happy someone else sees and recognizes the work we put into it.”
— Wes Stout
Okmulgee Times and Henryetta Free-Lance Graphic Designer According to Wikipedia, news design is the process of arranging material on a newspaper page, according to editorial and graphical guidelines and goals … graphical considerations include readability and balanced, unobtrusive incorporation of advertising. Wes Stout is our guy behind the design and layout of the paper being brought to you every Wednesday and Friday.
So tell us exactly how this works and what design looks like.
“My goal is to make something as clean, modern and just kind of fresh as possible while keeping an eye on how much time I put into it,” Stout said. “That’s really the tricky part – juggling. Laying out the paper takes up a good chunk of time … just make things as clean as possible. Keep it modern and streamline the process.”
Was being a part of a newspaper or just news in general something that you wanted to do?
“So I actually went to college thinking I would do something with writing,” he said. “I majored in communication for my Bachelor’s degree at USAO with an emphasis on journalism. So really, I thought out of school I’d end up being a reporter. But I guess the job sort of found me as a designer. I took some design classes and, I mean, I really just kind of fell in love with it … I always appreciated journalism. I know how important it is for the community, especially small towns, to get a trusted local news source and I’m certainly proud to be part of that.”
Stout has been in the graphic design field for around six years now and says artistry was something that was learned from seeing his mother.
“Well, my mom is an artist,” he said, “so it’s something I kind of grew up around. Painting and drawing and stuff like that. She actually taught during my time at NEO in Miami, which is where I’m from, so I took a couple of her painting classes … I guess it’s always been kind of a part of my life.”
What do you think about Okmulgee Times being nominated as one of Okmulgee County’s Unsung Heroes?
“I love it,” he said. “I mean, especially since we’re the ones turning out the stories most of the time. It’s always good to get positive feedback from the community that we’re serving. And I think we’re at a time right now where we’re making something pretty special with our paper. I would say I’m proud.”
What would you tell someone who is thinking about getting into graphic designing?
“Well, I’d say if it’s something that interests you, and if you do it enough, you’ll get better and better,” Stout said. “I wasn’t a classically trained graphic designer, but a lot of the stuff I picked up along the way, and the more you do it, the better you get. I’d say just stick with it and do stuff that you like, design stuff you like. If you get an opportunity, work for someone who gives you creative freedom. I think that’s a really big deal… “Really, if you’re creative and you have someone to kind of show you the way, or at least show you the tools you can use to really express yourself … that’s all you need as a designer, I’d say. I mean, teaching yourself only takes you so far, but there are plenty of options online that you can learn from. And it’s really good to have someone to take you under their wing and show you the way, but it doesn’t always have to be in a classroom setting.”
– The Okmulgee Daily Times itself has been around since 1918, but it began as the Daily Democrat in 1912. Renaming itself to Okmulgee Times in 2012, this local paper has seen our world, our state and our city through all her phases. It takes stability to keep local news sources unbiased and afloat ready to deliver the truth uncut. Stay tuned for next week’s edition as we conclude meeting your Okmulgee Times news team.