The Wakulla Sun
“It’s A New Day!”
The Wakulla Sun is a locally owned and operated newspaper bringing you community news, stories and events.
For advertising sales please call (850) 962-8019 or email Lynda Kinsey.
For circulation please call (850) 962-8019 or email Krystal Sheppard.
How we got here:
The start of The Wakulla Sun I didn’t set out to start a newspaper, but I didn’t like the changes that the corporate owner intended to make with the newspaper I had been with for 26 years. First came the staff reductions: two positions were cut, including an inside sales person/receptionist who had been with the paper for 5 years. Then came the loss of local control – ads and pages would no longer be built at the newspaper but at a “hub” out of state. The design of pages would now be a template for cookie-cutter design for the dozens of newspapers being built. Three times I offered to buy the newspaper – I wanted to keep it a local, community paper. Three times I was told no. So I turned in my resignation before Christmas with no idea what I was going to do next. On a Monday after the holidays, the first person I told I was leaving and why asked if I had thought about starting my own newspaper. I proceeded to tell him all the reasons that wouldn’t work. The worst of it was that I felt I needed to resign from all the organizations I was involved in – Rotary Club, where I had been appointed president a second time to fill the term of the former president who stepped down for personal reasons; plus Big Bend Hospice’s local advisory board, and the Wakulla Wonderful committee planning the celebration of Wakulla County’s founding with a festival on March 12. To me, the prospect of giving up that community involvement was heartbreaking but I felt I needed to walk away from it. I told other people, they gave me the same response: Why don’t you start your own paper? I told them why it wouldn’t work. By Thursday of that week, I was telling yet another person why I couldn’t and something reached a tipping point. True, there would be very significant hurdles to overcome. You’d be starting from nothing and trying to assemble all the systems and processes to generate a paper. But these were solveable problems. (I’m not using any names in this, but the first person I told and the person who made me wonder if maybe it could work are next-door neighbors with each other. In a conversation over the fence, the two of them actually worked out their roles in the story.) When I got home that evening, I told Meredith, my wife, that I was thinking about starting a newspaper. She was hesitant. She was fully supportive of buying an established newspaper – but starting a new one? But it was better than some of my earlier ideas, one of which was to go to racing school. “To do what?” she asked. “Be a race driver.” (Long silence. Throat clearing, then:) “Have you thought of anything else?” Though I wasn’t fully committed to it, I began to think of what would need to happen to start a new business. I began to tell people I was thinking about starting a paper. The reaction was always supportive. People were excited. And what really pushed it over the line were those people who offered financial support. I didn’t take it, but the fact that people were willing to put up money to back the paper made me believe that it really could work. (Soon, we will be set up to accept tax-deductible donations to support community journalism through the Florida Community News Fund, a 501(c)3 operated by the Florida Press Foundation.) In private conversations, the other members of the newspaper staff – salesperson Lynda Kinsey and graphic artist Eric Stanton – said if I started a paper, they would join. We began referring to it as “our” paper. They both submitted their resignations to come here. And I want to acknowledge what a giant leap of faith that was for both of them – Lynda had been with that newspaper for 33 years, Eric for nearly 20. Both gave up a steady paycheck and benefits to step out into this venture. I believe both did it because they are sincerely committed to community journalism, and what a local newspaper is supposed to be. I have thanked both of them for jumping off this cliff with me. I want to thank Meredith for her support of this venture. There’s a lot of other people to thank – everyone I talked to in the community who offered support and encouragement. Thanks to the advertisers in this issue. Thanks to Al Pasini, a good friend and Rotarian, who was the official first subscriber to The Wakulla Sun. Thanks to all of you who have subscribed. Thanks to Riddhi for joining us. And Jessi. Thanks to the columnists who contributed. Thanks to those people who helped us get the business started. And thank you to our readers. Without you, none of this means anything. We hope to earn your trust and keep it. Though we will inevitably make mistakes, we will own up to them and correct the record. This is your newspaper. It is local. It is sold, designed and built by local people. If you have a problem or a news tip or just want to chat, call me at 850-962-8024. Or stop by the office, 12 Arran Road. William Snowden is the editor and publisher of The Wakulla Sun.