TOP STORY OF THE DAY Brought to you FREE by WICU: Bennett excited for new opportunity with Brazil Times

Monday, October 12, 2020 ~ Updated 12:51 PM
Long-time journalist Joey Bennett is the new editor of the Brazil Times.
Ivy Jacobs photo

Hello Clay County!

I am beyond excited to be the new editor of the Brazil Times and I am looking forward to helping grow this newspaper to become even better in a changing media world.

Some of you already know me. I taught half of my 15 years in the classroom at Northview from 2007-14, and I still have many good connections from that experience I will be calling upon as I better familiarize myself with the Clay County community. I have coached many basketball players over the years from Clay County on various AAU or other travel teams, and I also got to know many people from Brazil during my time of working at the Terre Haute Boys Club.

I come to you from another Rust Communications publication in Greencastle, where I served as sports editor for the past 4.5 years.

I have previously written (off and on) for the Terre Haute Tribune-Star for a time period spanning from 1979 to 2016, and was sports editor of the Greensburg Daily News from 1984-88.

I graduated from Terre Haute North in 1980, along with current Clay Countians such as Mark Conrad, Betsy Stevenson, Cindy Junker and Theresa Underwood (plus others I have probably forgotten to list).

I graduated from Indiana State University the first time in 1984, and again in 1999 after receiving my teacher certification. I earned a master’s degree from Olivet Nazarene University in 2004 in curriculum and instruction, and have also completed 21 additional graduate hours since then.

My wife, Laura, and I have been married for almost 20 years. She teaches chemistry and physics at Riverton Parke. We live in northeastern Vigo County just a mile southwest of the “Tree in the Middle of the Road,” if you know of that mysterious roadway. My new 20-mile round trip commute is definitely superior to my previous 90-mile journey. I was hit by a deer twice after midnight on the way home during my time in Greencastle, and hope to avoid that nightmare for as long as possible.

We have three dogs, two of them being of the rare but enjoyable Bouvier des Flandres breed and the other a cocker spaniel. I have one brother, Duke, who is in his fourth term as the mayor of Terre Haute. I am not related to the Clay Countian with a name almost exactly the same as mine who is a retired firefighter — but would like to meet him someday. He takes excellent photos.

In non-pandemic years, we enjoy going to live theater and seeing as many different standup comics as we can. Like everyone, we long for the day when those types of entertainment are back to the way they used to be.

I love to write columns, and you will likely hear about all of those topics as time goes by.

I will not pretend to know everything I need to know as I begin this new adventure, which makes the presence of Ivy Jacobs and Adler Ingalsbe on the staff incredibly important and valuable.

They are both excellent journalists, and I look forward to working with them to build upon the good things already being done in this newspaper, adding a few ideas of my own and modifying anything that can be improved.

Your input is welcome and vital in this process. One feature that will appear in a small spot in each day’s newspaper will be called “On The Lookout,” in which I will list anything that any of our staff members might be seeking for story ideas. People with extensive Halloween decorations. Farmers who could comment on this year’s crops. Families who are now dealing with being “empty nesters.”

All sorts of things like that, and others that will come up along the way.

Some people in online comments have said that such attempts to locate sources is “the readers doing the work for you.” I look at it from the viewpoint that we can tell more and better stories if we are in touch with the correct sources, and whatever method we need to use to make that happen is what we are going to do.

We will extensively use our Facebook and Twitter pages to allow readers to submit information, and will publish portions of that in the newspaper. One important goal is to increase traffic on our website, and the best way to do that is to update it often and add content as it happens. We will post links to our stories as a way of advertising their existence, but in most cases a subscription will be required in order to read them. As much as newspapers are a public service for distributing information, we are also businesses with bottom lines to meet. As is the case now, any stories deemed important for public safety such as missing children, road closings, school closings or boil orders (which seem to happen often here) will be available free of charge.

We do not work around the clock, but as important events happen we will put them on the website as soon as possible.

In Greencastle, we had very heavy online traffic and readers were able to get information sooner than waiting for the next printed newspaper to come out. We want to duplicate that success here.

Currently, we are printing on a Tuesday/Friday schedule in a cost-saving measure due to COVID-19. As with all businesses, the status of that arrangement will change (or not) as the pandemic progresses toward its hopefully inevitable end. The more businesses that are having success, the more of them who will want to advertise in the newspaper.

I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible, and welcome any story ideas that you may have at my account.

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  • Dear Mr. Bennett:

    Regarding your requests for ideas and suggestions for making the Brazil Times more informative, I have a couple of suggestions. Why not put when the leaf pickup schedule more often. Also the same for heavy trash pickup. More general traffic information for example when Two way stops will become four way stops, etc. These changes may be more important now because of the paper only being printed up twice a week.

    Thanking you in advance,

    Concerned Reader

    -- Posted by hoosiersq on Wed, Oct 14, 2020, at 1:13 PM
    Response by Joey Bennett, Editor, Brazil Times:
    Those are great ideas. I will check with the correct people and make sure we get this information. Thanks.
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