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September 2019
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Mailbag - recent questions and comments

By Dan Pool, editor

     Here are a handful of recent questions or comments we wanted to address in public. As always, we are open to comments from readers at 706-253-2457 or by e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

     One reader who spotted us filling up paper boxes asked about the schedule of when papers are available and why home subscribers get their papers a day later than the Progress is available for sale in stores.

     Our response: Ideally we would put our newspaper on the racks in stores and in home subscribers’ mailboxes all on the same day, but that is not possible. There is just no way to get the papers printed and addressed and to the post office in time for subscribers to get them in the Wednesday mail.

     In a normal week, the online e-edition is available at about 9 a.m. on Wednesday at Papers should be available in stores by noon at the latest. Local subscribers should see the Progress in their mailbox with the Thursday mail. When out of-area subscribers get their papers is totally dependant on the mail service.


     Question from e-mail: Why do we put some stories in their entirety on our website for free and keep others only in print and in the (paid) e-edition?

Our response: There is a fine line by which we decide what material is offered for free and what pieces are only in the paid print/e-edition. I’m sure thoughts at the Progress and all newspapers will continue to evolve concerning free versus paid content online.

     The Progress, nor any newspaper I’m aware of, can sustain itself by giving away its content for free, any more than a restaurant can offer free food because people are hungry. The Atlanta paper, the Gilmer County paper, the Blue Ridge paper and the New York Times all hold some of their content for paying subscribers only.

     One of the most exciting uses of our website is the ability to put up timely and accurate information on breaking community news. This has been a valuable resource for road closings, weather events and crimes, where readers will benefit by having this  knowledge available ASAP. We also try to post entire stories on upcoming events and benefits, where people can help by taking action.

     For general coverage of the people and happenings in this community, we will continue to publish them primarily in a paid format, whether it’s in print or online.


     Paraphrased from E-mail: Did  last week’s article on the Popcorn and Politics forum at the chamber of commerce with Sole Commissioner Robert Jones signal an endorsement of Jones over his competitor, Wesley Weaver, in the race for chairman of the three-person board of commissioners?

     Our Response: Most assuredly no. The Progress does not endorse any candidates and strives for unbiased coverage of politics. In the case above, we’d like to point out:

     1. Jones was asked to speak at a forum (Popcorn and Politics) that we have always covered. We neither chose the speaker nor made any input into who would be speaking. Would it have been better to ignore the county’s top official speaking on the state of the county in a chamber of commerce forum?

     2. No intentionally biased article for a candidate would use the words "tax hike" in a headline with their name, which was the case with the article in question.

The article, from last week’s paper, not only included accomplishments presented by Jones (911 improvements and paving) but also problems (Tate Depot and a possible tax increase).

     News from incumbent candidates, whether it’s the sheriff starting a new program or the DA being recognized for exemplary DUI prosecution, will continue during the election cycle and needs to be reported. Conversely, should a crime spree that goes unsolved occur or the DA lose a significant case, it too will be reported with no regard for the political impact.


Kids Page


     Finally, a reader wrote to say the Kids Page from the May 17th edition had words missing in the word search. If we wanted to be mean, we might have intentionally left words out to keep kids searching all summer. But in reality, Kids Page material is supplied by a vendor and, unfortunately, there were words missing in last week’s word search – so all the kids can stop looking at last week’s puzzle. Sorry for the mistake.