My assignment: What's your community newspaper and Web site doing to remain essential to Bradenton residents in the 21st century?
Now I know what it's like to have a tough editor I'm only going to scratch the surface here in my allotted 15 inches. The Bradenton Herald has been an integral part of this community since its first edition in 1922. As Bradenton has evolved, so has the Herald. As Bradenton has gotten younger and technology-savvy, so has Bradenton.com. And we share the same ups and downs as the local economy shakes with change. Our newsroom has to mirror your habits. Your demands for information. Your need to know. And when you need to know it. We are building a "continuous newsroom" a local news-gathering operation that provides you news and information around the clock, integrating our print and online products to be that seamless source. Our days in the Herald newsroom start earlier a reporter and editor are in by 6 a.m. and end in the wee hours of the morning after the paper goes to press and the Web is updated. We're finding new ways to bring you the news. Online, we're adding hundreds of breaking-news stories night and day, all week long. We're enriching stories from our print edition by adding video, audio, slide shows all produced by the same staff who for years worked only with the printed word and image. But we're also firmly committed to the future of that print edition. The printed page will stand the test of time for scrapbooks, bulletin boards, grandkids and a memorable moment of fame. The newspaper is leaner, so we're trying to get smarter with that space and to have some fun while we're at it. Put an "Accent" on fun our newly themed features sections. Every day, the Bradenton Herald offers a section outside News, Sports and Business that is filled with family features, advice columns, comics, puzzles, health and fitness articles, stories of faith and courage a tidy package to help make your life a little easier. We've also put a stronger emphasis on community news including ''hyperlocal'' content provided by you and your neighbors. "Your Community. Your Town'' appears Tuesdays through Saturdays (send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org). We're more "social," too, expanding Susan Wilcox's column "The Social Scene" to five days a week. But the heartbeat of our newsroom must remain resoundingly clear: investigative journalism, solutions-oriented reporting and great story-telling. And that is the core of our mission statement: to seek out the truth, report it fairly and accurately and embrace the sense of community that defines Manatee County. We will entertain, inform, sometimes criticize and we will always listen. Above all, we are committed to passionately uphold the First Amendment protection of freedom of the press. Joan Krauter is executive editor of the Bradenton Herald. Contact her at 748-0411, ext. 2000, or email email@example.com.