• Almost two months ago, we hired 8-year veteran reporter Brian Livingston as our crime/military reporter. Brian is the first true crime reporter we've had at The Star since Marianne Todd departed in 2001. Solid crime reporting has been missing for a while, but we're slowly getting it back. Brian has barely gotten his feet wet and he's already broken two big stories — "Downtown Crime" and "North Meridian incident." Both of those stories would have likely gone unreported in the past. But Brian, who understands that good crime reporting comes from rolling up your sleeves, hitting the pavement and talking to people, did the work and got those stories to the public. He has also given us several great human interest features. I think readers will grow to love Brian. He's always looking for a good story to investigate. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call him at (601) 938-6838 (yes this is a cell; he said call him 24/7 if you have a good story idea).
• We debuted two new features this week on our Web site: Reporter's Notebook and Ask the Mayor. Reporter's Notebook will feature things such as meeting agendas, contracts, extra paperwork, etc. from city and county government reporter Georgia E. Frye. That came straight from a suggestion on our forum. Ask the Mayor is something Georgia came up with to get readers involved in the semimonthly mayor's news conferences. At each meeting, Georgia will ask the mayor one of the reader's questions. We'll then post his response in special box in the paper and we'll post a video clip of his response on our Web site.
• We debuted "What's up with this?" in our print edition last week and it has been a hit. That's another feature our readers helped start. And, yes, we know that we did the "unthinkable" of ending the first bullet point with the forbidden preposition. Sorry if we offended anyone. The idea was to be more conversational and that line set up the location. I despise the word location (don't ask why). Regardless, we will reword the phrase next time to, "Where this is located:"