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Profile 2001: By the People'
your chance to tell your stories

By Staff
Dec. 31, 2000
On page one of today's edition, you'll find an invitation from The Meridian Star to you to participate personally in the upcoming Profile 2001 special section.
As you consider what this is all about, and whether it's worth your time and effort, I wanted to offer a little background on the concept and how you can make it great.
Suzanne Monk, The Meridian Star's managing editor, developed the concept for Profile 2001 and the conceptual paper she wrote is illustrative. Let me paraphrase from it:
All year long, our readers read stories written by the fine staff of professional journalists here at The Meridian Star. Your read our columns, our opinions, and news stories presented our way. Right down to the layout of the pages, the decisions on what to print are ours, though such decisions are made on the basis of what's making news.
You trust us to tell it straight and we try with all our being to do so.
But we want to delve more deeply into the people, places and things that add so significantly to the quality of life here. We are especially interested in all of those untold stories that make the people and place so uniquely us.
Suzanne's idea is that we should, as she put it, "shut up for one minute and let the people tell their own stories." A good approach. By the People, then, is envisioned as a special edition dedicated to the idea of using people's own words to tell their stories instead of our interpretation of their words.
It's a terrific concept and, already, our staff is gathering information from people all across our readership area. Profile 2001 will contain specific sections covering virtually all aspects of our lives.
What we are looking for?
We're looking for you and your stories. We seek answers to questions such as:
n When your church has a bake sale, what do you bake?
n Look around you right now what personal mementos are on your desk or kitchen counter?
n How many baseball caps do you really own? Which is your favorite?
n What are you and your friends doing for entertainment or relaxation?
n What really goes on at deer camp?
Suzanne's thoughts are shared by all of us here at The Star. There's a grandmother out there somewhere making a quilt for her grandson's wedding gift without a thought that she is creating a priceless family heirloom.
There are "invisible hands" working to lift the fallen, empower the abused, teach the children, strengthen the shaken.
Our staff writers may write the cover stories for Profile 2001 but many of the cover story ideas will come from our readers. The goal to is quote at least 1,000 people, each of whom has a little piece of information to share with the rest of us.
Inherent in the idea, as Suzanne expressed in her concept paper, is the notion that readers' words and work have a respected place at The Meridian Star. Suffice it to say, Profile 2001  which publishes on Feb. 27, 2001 may be compiled by us, but it's a tribute to you and each member of this community whose lives and contributions are so important.
How do you take part?
As we said on page one, just write us. Tell us about yourself, the things you and your family and friends are doing. And send photographs we can put in the paper.
Profile 2001: "By the People" is your edition. Send materials to:
Suzanne Monk, Managing Editor
The Meridian Star
P.O. Box 1591
Meridian, MS 39302
Telephone: 693-1551, ext. 3229
E-mail: smonk@themeridianstar.com
Together, we will make Profile 2001 a special edition of The Meridian Star to remember.
Reader survey
On the subject of reader involvement with The Star, I am delighted to report that nearly 500 responses were received to the Reader Survey developed by publisher Paul Barrett. The information will be very helpful as we consider ways to make the paper a more meaningful part of your daily life.
Many of the respondents made additional comments on what they like and dislike about the newspaper, and we are enjoying going through each one.
Thanks to all who shared their thoughts.
Buddy Bynum is editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at bbynum@themeridianstar.com.

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