By Michael Eng | Managing Editor
In many ways, it is fitting the Plant City Observer’s birthday is July 4.
Much like the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 gave birth to an overwhelming sense of dream and wonder, we hope the Plant City Observer signifies the beginning of great opportunity in this city we all love.The Plant City Observer is a weekly community newspaper dedicated solely to Plant City, its residents and businesses. It is the product of a partnership between longtime Plant City luminaries Ed Verner, Nate Kilton and Publisher Felix Haynes, former president of Hillsborough Community College’s Plant City campus, and the Sarasota-based Observer Media Group Inc., a family-owned and operated publisher of community newspapers and websites in Sarasota and Manatee counties.
The newspaper is the end product of more than a decade of research initiated by Verner.
“I have been passionate about Plant City’s news voice for more than 10 years,” he said. “Many good people have worked hard trying to maintain it, but there is a fatal disconnect that occasionally happens if a news voice is owned by people who don’t live inside that news. It’s hard to believe in the effect and affect of a story if you’re not there to live with it.”
Kilton, owner of Sedita Kilton Life and Wealth Management, became involved in the Plant City Observer about one year ago.
“I’m proud to see the Plant City Observer go to print,” he said. “Ed, Felix and I have worked hard over the past year or more. We hit many roadblocks along the way, and I think that it was fortuitous for us to partner with the Observer Media Group.”
Each week, the Plant City Observer will be filled with hyper-local news, features, photos and sports coverage. In the next few weeks, the company also will launch PlantCityObserver.com, which will feature all of our print content as well as web exclusives and multimedia content.
The editorial team comprises Managing Editor Michael Eng, Assistant Managing Editor Jessica Eng and staff writers Amber Jurgensen and Matt Mauney. As publisher Haynes will oversee advertising sales and circulation. His staff includes advertising executive Veronica Prostko, Linda Lancaster as administrative assistant and advertising support coordinator, and Petra Kirkland as bookkeeper.
“After many years, Plant City once again has a locally owned weekly newspaper,” Kilton said. “The Plant City Observer has dedicated substantial resources in our editorial staff to ensure the paper will be widely read. My expectation is that people will look forward to reading the Plant City Observer every week. The paper will be a major factor in keeping readers informed about what is happening in their community. Extensive circulation and, more importantly, extensive readership of the paper will provide a return on investment to our advertisers and will be a benefit to the business community.
“I want people to feel like the paper belongs to them,” he said. “I want to be able to tell my grandchildren with pride about how I helped to start the Plant City Observer way back in 2012.”
“When I think about 10 years from now, the results that could and should happen as the Plant City Observer drills down and delivers hyper-local news that is relevant, reliable and caring about Plant City, I am eager to get there,” he said. “It is hard to over-estimate the impact a successful newspaper that is locally owned and operated can have in keeping Plant City’s voice alive.”opengl32 multihack