Commentary

printed 03/26/2021

Before we introduce the new reporters we now have on board, it’s time to answer a question that’s been asked numerous times over the years.

Why is it, people will ask, that Ocean City Today always seems to be turning over reporters?

It’s a good question, because many people have concluded that we must have been doing something wrong for decades. The fact is we have been doing what we set out to do from the beginning — prepare new reporters to move up in the business and send them on their way.

This approach locally goes back to the early 1970s, when Gee Williams, former mayor of Berlin, practiced it with the Beachcomber and the Eastern Shore Times.

Then and now, that’s one of the most rewarding parts of an editor’s job: seeing people take what they learned and succeed elsewhere. Reporter Ally Lanasa is doing exactly that, as she moves to Ohio to enter the magazine industry.

But now, the tables have turned in the publishing world, and weekly newspapers have become the more attractive opportunity, as dailies continue to be ruined by sluggish markets and hedge fund operators.

Now, instead of sending committed journalists on their way, we’re able to bring them back and to benefit from their experience elsewhere.

Our cast of reporting veterans, in order of appearance, are Greg Ellison, who’s been with us for five years now; Neely James, a Maryland journalism school grad, who also co-owns Mother’s Cantina; Greg Wehner, formerly of the Southampton Press in “the Hamptons” on Long Island and a Fellow of John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Jack Chavez, formerly of the Capital Gazette and Baltimore Sun community papers; and Mallory Panuska, who stepped down as features editor of the Frederick News Post to join us and who worked at with another paper here in 2005.

Admittedly, this is a different approach to staffing for us, but we like where it’s going and, once everyone is settled in, we think you will too.

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