EDITOR’S NOTE: Behind our coverage of JFK anniversary, holiday events

As the nation marked the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination last week, we were pleased to be able to present in our Nov. 20 edition a number of interesting anecdotes from local residents, many of whom had interacted directly with Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline.

Because the Kennedys had spent time campaigning in Charles Town in early 1960, we knew we wanted to go beyond the “Where were you when you heard Kennedy had been shot?” kind of retrospective for this landmark anniversary.

It was a major effort to collect the stories and get accompanying photographs – particularly during a week when our staff is smaller than normal.

With the resignation of our distribution manager, we had to hire a new driver, who starts today. In the interim, I’ve spent busy Wednesdays in the paper’s delivery van, dropping off the new edition to dozens of stores and post offices in Jefferson and Berkeley counties.

Time on the road has meant less time in the newsroom, and during a period when there’s more editorial work to be done. Besides our regular paper, we’ve put together Yum!, a new special section devoted to restaurants and food products for last week’s paper, and then Countdown to the holidays, a shop-local holiday shopping guide that you’ll find inside the Spirit this week.

This week’s paper also brings our extensive annual holiday calendar of events. Starting on Page B1, you’ll see details about the parades, concerts, tree lightings, worship services and much more. Just including the events happening between this week and Dec. 15 came to more than 3,000 words. There’s a lot going on in our area.

I always say there’s no shortage of work at a small newspaper, and that’s especially true at the Spirit because we tend to take on writing projects and other challenges not normally tackled by weeklies our size (in newsrooms, it’s called fighting above your weight class) – and then to be short-staffed on top of that.

But because the JFK 50th anniversary comes along only once and the chance to showcase our holiday events comes only this time of year and because we want every week’s paper to be as good as we possibly can make it, we remain determined to keep aiming high, whatever challenges arise.

We hope you found our JFK anniversary coverage insightful and that this week’s holiday calendar and other features prove helpful and interesting. That’s our goal.

We’re also always grateful that you take time to make the Spirit part of your busy week.

— Robert Snyder


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