by Melanie Jongsma, current Managing Editor
LANSING, Ill. (August 19, 2020) – Josh Bootsma has agreed to take a risk. He’s leaving behind a steady job with a reliable source of income and stepping into full-time employment with The Lansing Journal.
He’s actually been writing for The Lansing Journal since August of 2018, when he captured the energy of Dr. Teresa Lance’s first day as Superintendent of District 215. Today, 87 articles later, he’s shared stories and photos of our community sports, schools, businesses and churches, and readers have enjoyed his reviews of plays and musicals as well.
People who have been interviewed by Josh find him respectful, prepared, and genuinely interested in their stories. That’s important to The Lansing Journal’s brand—our brand is about Building Community, and community is based on trust. Josh gets that.
Building and growing
His journalism skills, personal integrity, and commitment to community make Josh an ideal Managing Editor, so that’s the role he is going to grow into. Not only will he continue writing, he’ll also work with our team of freelance journalists, assigning stories, following up on deadlines, and scheduling publication dates. Story ideas that come in from readers will be routed to Josh, and he’ll figure out how to prioritize them. I’ll be working alongside him in his editorial role for as long as needed, but having him focus on content will free me to focus on advertising sales and fundraising, which are also necessary for a community newspaper. Content and advertising depend on each other, and Josh and I will work well together in these roles.
I never thought I wanted to make a living as a salesperson, but working with The Lansing Journal has changed my mind about that, and I’ve grown to love it. Because I believe in the quality of our product, and because readers tell me how much they enjoy receiving it every day, it is not at all difficult to talk to local organizations about how The Lansing Journal can help them. Advertising is another way of sharing information and telling a story. My advertisers know I want them to succeed, and I know they want The Lansing Journal to succeed. I enjoy that kind of partnership.
There are other ways Josh and I want The Lansing Journal to grow. We want more subscribers, which will help us attract more advertisers, which could help those businesses grow, which can help our community thrive. We’ve talked about how often we should produce a printed newspaper. We’ve discussed the idea of publishing in Spanish as well as English. We’ve wondered about covering news in South Holland, Calumet City, Lynwood, and other neighboring communities. At the same time, we also want to figure out how to cover all the Lansing news more consistently in the future. (Like sports! We know you want sports!)
Timing and synergy
Josh’s acceptance of this new role could not have come at a better time. With schools back in session, and the Human Relations Commission launching Common Ground, and COVID-19 numbers still a topic of spirited discussion, there is a lot of reporting to do. And as churches and businesses begin reopening with new hours, adjusted services, and different expectations, there’s a lot of advertising to do. In addition, having two of us around to share the load means news can continue to be published even while we experience technical difficulties. (No, we haven’t completely resolved our website issues yet. Thank you for being so patient!)
As it turns out, Josh’s start as Managing Editor coincides with an online class I signed up for weeks ago. Those sessions have been important for both of us to hear, and I enjoy having someone to discuss ideas with after we close the Zoom app. I’m always energized by learning new things, but having a partner to help turn ideas into action brings additional synergy.
Readers, please join me in welcoming Josh Bootsma into the role of Managing Editor of The Lansing Journal. It is an intimidating responsibility, but the support of this community has always made that burden lighter for me, and I’m sure Josh will feel the same way.
If you have questions, complaints, or well wishes for either of us, please feel free to contact us directly: