Hail to the Chief

In an era of dwindling circulations and shrinking profits, the weekly newspaper in the Panhandle town of Miami has a different problem: choosing a cover story in a place where nothing really happens.

IN THE WORLD OF PRINT MEDIA, few decisions are as racked by second-guessing and hand-wringing as the choice of a cover story. Still, probably no one in the business has it as bad as Sandy Black, the 51-year-old sole publisher, editor, staff writer, ad saleswoman, accountant, photographer, and paperboy for the weekly Miami Chief, the only local news source in the small Panhandle town of Miami. All 588 residents of Miami (pronounced “My-am-uh”) fit on just three pages of the phone directory—and every one of them knows Sandy. That means she has to be particularly careful not to ruffle feathers with her news coverage. Worse, there isn’t a whole lot of news to report. During slow weeks, such as the dog days of July, when the annual cow-calling contest has come and gone and the start of high school football practice is still a few weeks away, finding something coverworthy for the

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