An evening conversation: a fine place to be

By Stephen Cameron

We are in the process of hiring a reporter.

No, this isn’t a want ad — unless, of course, you’re a gifted writer/reporter with years of newspaper experience and a burning desire to follow the exploits of local law enforcement.

(If you do fit that description, call NOW!)

Actually, the point I want to make is that I’ve been in newspaper management quite awhile and done my share of hiring.

And this week I realized something when mulling over applications for our open position.

This shouldn’t come as any surprise, but…

People REALLY want to live in Manhattan.

I mean, sure, we know that’s true from all the cold statistics about steady growth, rising home values, and everything else the Chamber of Commerce puts in those glossy brochures.

But it’s one thing to know a fact — like something you see in a Google search, process quickly and then forget — and quite another to have a reaction like: “Wow! I’m living and working in a very cool place. People wish they could be here.”

Wow, again.

Why is this a stunning realization?

You must be thinking: Wasn’t the guy impressed with Manhattan when he moved here?

Yes, I was…but maybe I just took the entire experience for granted. I’ve known the area for a long time and, shoot, when the Seaton family offered me such a terrific opportunity…

What was there to think about?

Now, however, I’m really, REALLY processing the whole deal. We have job candidates applying from everywhere in the United States — plus the occasional inquiry from Canada.

My only hire so far in Year One as executive editor of The Mercury was a photographer who jumped at the chance to move here from Florida.

Part of this revelation stems from the fact that I suppose I’ve held managerial positions in cities or areas that are, um…

As publisher Ned Seaton would say: “Bleh!”

I don’t want to name these places. It’s not fair to be hurtful toward communities where I was happy, where I loved my job and colleagues, and where I was respected.

So I’ll just sum up these areas as being…not Manhattan.

But heck, I’m starting to realize that not many places ARE Manhattan, with its ideal size, fantastic Flint Hills backdrop, thriving university that’s connects around the world, and all the rest of it.

Manhattan is what you get when you combine the very best of small-town America with the neatest elements of thriving city life — without the hassles of either.

I should be thankful every day, but I suppose it’s human nature to take good things for granted.

Happily, I have a boatload of job applications here to remind me that Manhattan sells itself.

And to be honest, it’s tough not to be a teeny bit smug when applicants write from Cockroach Crossing, Alabama — or Chicago.

I’m sticking with it, in fact.

I live in Manhattan. I’m smug.

So there.

Steve Cameron is executive editor of The Mercury.

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