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Our Christmas photo op: A holiday hat trick


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December 17, 2013 | 03:07 PM
“Chris, take off your hat!”

For the last few years we’ve shot a team photo that we use on our company Christmas cards.

Over those last few years, some things have changed. But one thing is as certain as sunrise — Chris Schultz will wear a hat.

While were shooting these photos, several people yelled for Chris to take off his hat. But Chris, the stubborn journalist he is, declined. Finally, as you can see by the photo on the left, our collective guilt trips wore him down.

It was a challenge to choose which photo we should use. When Chris is wearing his hat (right), we all seem happy. When he’s not (in the photo at left) we look unseasonably glum. As they say in the beer commercials, it’s only weird if it doesn’t work. If Chris Schultz wearing a hat makes everyone smile, so be it.

Chris, who covers Lake Geneva and Williams Bay, is one of our staff characters. He’s a great journalist and a fount of knowledge on just about any subject — except, obviously, hat etiquette.

Joy Kowald, middle row, far right, is the person who shot the photo. She put the camera on a tripod, set the timer and ran back to her spot in line, all while maintaining a smile befitting her name.

Not only is she the paparazzi of Chris Schultz fashion photos, she’s shot many of the mini-movies on ReelLife TV, our cottage industry which has grown significantly this past year.

As for changes, since last year we’ve welcomed Sara Kennedy as our accounts receivable manager, and Ben Stanley as sports editor.

Ben is the round, friendly face in the back row, far right. He’s such a great guy that one of his co-workers said she liked him better than herself. He also writes with a flair that’s beyond that of most sports writers (check out his hunting column on our website, lakegenevanews.net).

Sara takes care of our accounts receivable. She’s one of the most conscientious people I’ve ever met. By the time a problem rises, in my mind, she’s already solving it.

Sue Hinske is sitting in the first row on your left and my right, which is fitting considering she’s my right-hand helper. Sue is our office manager and tries to keep me from making mistakes before they happen and making it a teaching moment when they do. She’s done just about everything a person can do on a newspaper having worked at the Regional News for almost 50 years.

To my left, your right, is Glenda Hill. Since I took over as editor she’s done more writing and organizing of press releases than ever before. Glenda does an amazing job of coordinating both me and the press releases. If it got in the paper, she’s the reason why.

In the second row, far left, is Sarah Schauf. She’s “Sarah with an h” to differentiate her from Sara (without an h) Kennedy. Sarah is our assistant graphic director. Give her an idea and she’ll make it appear way better than you could have imagined.

Jessica Franzene is next to Sarah. She’s the editor of the Resorter, our sister publication, and a great idea person. Just the last few months, she decided it would be a good idea if we handed out treats for Halloween and cookies and cocoa during the Christmas parade. She’s also a great prose stylist who has written some great stories for our Welcome Home section.

Jumping over Chris for a moment — assuming you can clear his hat — you’ll meet Jade Bolack. For quite awhile several of us called her Joy and called Joy Jade. Two newcomers with names beginning with J was apparently too hard for some of us to handle. Jade covers Walworth and Fontana and is one of the most fearless reporters I’ve ever met.

In the back row, left to right, are Duane Hove and Mike Coolidge, two-thirds of our sales team. It is not true that they both grew beards similar to mine to kiss up to the boss; in fact, I grew my beard long after they did. It’s always a good idea for the ad reps to think the general manager idolizes them. They sell better that way. Duane is the veteran of our sales team. You may note that Mike is smiling in both photos — salesmen learn that perma-grin pretty early in life.

Next to Duane and Mike is Michael Reinsissel, our very veteran graphic arts director/sales associate. He’s the face behind many of the ads you’ve seen in the Regional News for decades. He works so hard I’ve never been able to beat him in to work nor seen him leave.

Next to Michael is Rob Ireland, our managing editor and new media guru. When I decided to take over as editor when Lisa Seiser left, I knew I’d have a full plate. Rob has done an amazing job clearing it for me. He does most of the stuff the editor does, but he’s left me as the somewhat furry face of the newspaper. I’ll take the glory (or shame) as long as he does most of the work.

Steve Targo is next to Rob. Steve works out of his home these days. Every once in a while he’ll drop in and reintroduce himself. He’s one of those pros who will make a well-crafted story no matter what the assignment. He knows his movies and music, too.

Then there’s Phil Bonyata, he’s the leader of our ReelLife project, as well as a sales rep. He started here as a photographer and morphed into his present position. He’s also the tallest person on the staff, so has the unenviable job of changing florescent lights and resetting the wall clock no one else can reach.

Oh, did I forget someone?

How could I?

In the second row, in the middle, there’s this guy with a hat.

We aim to be a fair and righteous newspaper, so we try not to bias ourselves against people who wear hats indoors.

Maybe next year, we’ll have him wear a Santa hat instead.

Then we’ll be able to say “ho, ho, ho” as well as Merry Christmas.

We hope this holiday brings you good tidings and Chris a little sartorial splendor.

Halverson is editor and general manager of the Regional News.


Tags: Staff Editorial

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