By DAVE GOULD
A few months ago, my wife Ellen and I made a life-changing decision.
After a long and fruitful 23-year career with Gannett, the owner of the Tennessean, USA Today and a host of other media entities, we decided it was time to do our own thing. This was not an easy decision. Gannett is a good, stable company and we appreciated my steady paycheck and benefits. But when I learned that Main Street Media was for sale, my interest was piqued.
Ellen and I moved to Middle Tennessee with Gannett over 11 years ago. Tennessee is now our permanent home and we felt the time was right, so we took the leap and are now proud owners of an outstanding company.
Main Street Media publishes the Wilson Post twice a week, the Gallatin News once a week, the Hendersonville Standard once a week and the Bargain Browser once a week. We also have companion websites and we publish some specialty products.
While I was the one with the long media career, Ellen and I decided that this would be a family affair. Ellen has been involved in the business from the beginning and our oldest children have helped out as well. Ellen and I have eight children. The two oldest, Patrick (senior at the University of Tennessee) and Andrew (sophomore at the University of Dayton) spent the entire summer working with us and performed a variety of tasks including helping us move offices, grow circulation, work with advertisers and anything else that needed to get done. Our next two oldest sons – Nicholas (senior at Father Ryan) and Sam (junior at Father Ryan) also helped out occasionally. Our four youngest children, Sarah (freshman at Pope John Paul II), Oliver (4th grader), Annie (2nd grader) and Maggie (1st grader), well, we haven’t put them to work just yet, but that will surely happen someday soon.
Like any good business we are only as good as the people who work with us. Our team is what makes this a fine company. At all three of our newspapers
we have local reporters, designers and advertising consultants who are connected with the community. I’ve also had the opportunity, in the last few months, to meet scores of local folks and the feedback they have given me about our newspapers has been very positive. As someone who has worked in this industry over the years, I can tell you that getting positive feedback about your local paper does not happen every day. But we seem to be bucking the trend.
There are a number of people rooting for us to be successful, and that is very gratifying. More than one person has asked me why we bought a newspaper company. After all, aren’t newspapers dying? I don’t believe we will die if we stay close to our readers and advertisers.
Our job is to provide people in our communities with important local news and information that interests them and that impacts their daily lives. Newspapers that do this right will not only survive, but thrive.
The other question I have heard from people throughout the community is, “Do you really have eight kids?” The answer to that is a resounding yes! Ellen and I recently celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary and we have been so blessed by our children. Most of our free time is spent being involved in their lives. We stay engaged in their activities and make it a point not to miss a football game or a concert.
Ellen and I get involved in the community as much as we can. We are both active in our church and our faith is central to our lives. Four of our children have been diagnosed with type-1 diabetes so we have gotten very involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), the leading organization raising money for research to cure, treat and prevent type-1 diabetes. I served seven years on the Board of Directors of the Middle Tennessee Chapter of JDRF including three years as board president. Ellen has testified before the United States Senate on behalf of diabetes research. Like all parents, we would do anything for our kids. We would make any sacrifice if we could cure this awful disease. We have learned to work diabetes into our lives and we refuse to let it control us. The kids are doing well and remain very positive.
All of the members of our family would agree that we are so fortunate for the blessings we have been given. Family and community are at our core and I believe that is what led us to take this leap. It’s in the pages of your local paper where you will find not only your name and photo, but also the names and photos of your family, friends, and neighbors that you care about. You will find their story and your story and now our story.
As we enter a new chapter in our lives with the purchase of Main Street Media we are so excited to be part of Wilson County, where the good life is easy to find.