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Hagen: Living the good life at the Mitchell Republic

Saying less and doing more surely can lead to living a good life. Or at least it leads to frequently under-promising and over-delivering.

Luke Hagen column sig.jpg
Mitchell Republic Editor Luke Hagen.
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Say less, do more.

That advice isn’t the most flashy guidance, but it’s a wonderfully simplified way to be productive.

And I try to utilize it daily.

For the past two years, saying less has been a smart move for just about everyone. I’m not trying to get preachy, but how often have experts promised information or a solution only to be completely wrong?

Who is ever really completely right? A fantastic book I recently finished shared the perspective that we’re all wrong about everything, and that’s OK. We just need to continue striving to always be less wrong by learning and growing.

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Say less. Do more. Learn. Adapt.

That all gives perspective about our momentum at the Mitchell Republic. Every day, we have a small army of reporters quietly working extremely hard to deliver the news to our members. We have advertising staff making great business connections. And we strive to have top-notch customer service. It’s been fantastic.

Saying less and doing more surely can lead to living a good life. Or at least it leads to frequently under-promising and over-delivering. I like that.

And I really like what we’ve accomplished lately. That’s why it’s time to take a moment and say a little more about what exactly we’ve been doing. Nothing wrong with taking a little pride in your work once in a while, right? So here’s a little insight into some of the exciting progress we’ve been making:

  • BEST OF MITCHELL: Our advertising staff just kicked off the 11th year of our Best of Mitchell contest . You know, those stickers that are all over town showing off the best of the best community services? This year’s voting, which is open now, runs through April 9 and can be found on our website and social media channels with dozens of categories to support your community favorites. We’ve heard another local organization launched a similar campaign apparently. While we realize imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, our decade-plus experience with this contest has already brought in hundreds of votes after just a day of it being open. Best of Mitchell is where it’s at. 
  • DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION GROWTH: As a 35-year-old who started in this industry in 2008 helping assemble a printed edition six out of seven days a week, the traditional newspaper runs deep in my heart. But since our transition, seeing the trends of our digital subscriptions grow on a weekly basis is really exciting. Like, really exciting. 
    Readers are realizing the value in our rigorous reporting, both online and in print, and are supporting us at a level that’s so appreciated. If you subscribe to the print edition, you automatically get access to all of our online reporting -- so if you need help setting up an online account, please reach out to us. There’s a lot online that you could be missing.
  • E-EDITION EXPERIMENTS AND NEW WEBSITE: Speaking of our online access, have you seen our new, user-friendly website? We launched it earlier this year and have heard nice positive feedback. Our daily e-edition, a replica of the printed paper, is easily found at the top of the website with a big yellow button. We’re about to venture with an experiment on how we deliver our daily online news to consider whether there is a better way to group the previous day’s biggest stories. 
  • SPORTS COVERAGE: As March wraps up, it’s hard not to be in awe of the effort our sports staff put together during winter sports. And, even though that preps coverage has eased with the transition of seasons, we’re still firing out tons of work. This week, we sent a staffer to Kansas to cover the University of South Dakota playing in the NCAA National Tournament’s Sweet 16 . That shows our investment in the state’s biggest stories, as just a few months back we went to Montana to cover South Dakota State University’s football team playing in the postseason semifinals. During the state basketball tournaments, we had reporters in Sioux Falls, Aberdeen, Watertown and Brookings. We had rigorous coverage of state wrestling, state gymnastics and we’ve balanced covering hockey, swimming and so much more. Sports coverage? With the largest sports staff for any news outlet in the state, we’re the go-to and we’re proud of it. 
  • LIVE-STREAMING: What a cool supplement for our online members with live-streaming. We had fantastic feedback for streaming the Eastern South Dakota Conference gymnastics meet at the Corn Palace. We had hundreds of people log on when we showed the youth cheer and dance meet in Mitchell. And our monthly school board streams have been a great public service. And that’s the key -- we’re doing this simply as a service for our members because we can. If there’s a live-stream event that you’re interested in, let us know. 
  • STAFFING: Save the best for last. Here’s what I’m most proud of -- all the people who put this work together every day . Would you believe we have three Mitchell natives and five South Dakotans on our newsroom staff? Our department heads (editor, circulation manager, business manager and advertising director) each have more than a decade of experience working for the Mitchell Republic. Our publisher has more than 40 years in the newspaper industry. We’re local, we’re deep-rooted in the community and we care about South Dakota news. (Oh, and don’t be afraid to reach out for a news tip.) 

There’s our updates. We’ve got a lot going and more planned in hopes of consistent improvement for our members. With that said, it’s time to get back to work.

Opinion by Luke Hagen
Luke Hagen was promoted to editor of the Mitchell Republic in 2014. He has worked for the newspaper since 2008 and has covered sports, outdoors, education, features and breaking news. He can be reached at lhagen@mitchellrepublic.com.
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