My first job in media was at the Roswell Daily Record, the only daily newspaper in the city of Roswell, N.M.
The newspaper there is the heart of the community. Reporters and editors attend every event in town. The winner of the county fair animal contests make the front page. The newspaper sponsors a little bit of everything. People read the paper daily from front to back, and they have opinions about it.
I always look back on it as the best lesson in maintaining relationships, because chances are, I wasn't only going to be working with those people professionally, I was going to be bumping into them at the grocery store, at the bank and at the post office.
The Roswell Daily Record is traditional journalism at its purest.
Years later, I am now a community manager for Triblocal.com, a Chicago Tribune product that covers the suburbs in a non-traditional manner. We ask contributors to be our voices and share their stories on our Web site, which we then share in a print edition delivered inside the Thursday Trib.
Chicago could not be more different than New Mexico. The Roswell Daily Record and Triblocal.com are very different. But, in truth, all the same principles still apply.
People are still the voices that make up a newspaper. Whether they come from a reporter's notebook or a Web site, it is people's thoughts, words, feelings and actions that are news.
And sharing our stories still gives us the shared experience that makes us more than just individual people living individual lives. It makes us a community.