January 18, 2012

Our Vision

To be the most trusted and reliable source for news and information in the market we serve.

Our Mission

We are committed to providing news and information for Mason County, Michigan, with quality, integrity and fairness.

Our Values

VALUE Our readers, contributors and advertisers are our most valuable assets. INTEGRITY We always strive to act fairly, ethically and honestly in every circumstance, committed to doing no harm. We are consistent in word and in deed. EXCELLENCE Our product will be the best it can be.

We will always put journalistic ethics above all else.

Our History

By Rob Alway, editor

Ever since I was a kid, I have been interested in telling people’s stories. Growing up, on the corner of Amber and Hansen roads, I would put together hand written neighborhood newspapers and circulate them to our neighbors across the street, Dave and Ruth Gustafson. Ruth always put up with me and paid me in milkshakes! I remember the very first pictures I took with a 35mm camera.

The camera was my dad’s (one of his prized possessions at the time) and we were at the fort on Mackinaw Island. I think I was 12-years-old. He showed me how to take a meter reading and I took a picture of the soldiers firing muskets. I also took pictures of the Mackinac Bridge from the sky (my dad has an airplane and we flew to the island). I still have those pictures. In high school I started to develop an interest in photography (no pun intended).

When I was a sophomore, I became a student assistant to eighth grade science teacher Wes Joneson, whose classroom had a photography darkroom in it. I always give credit to Wes as the person who taught me how to develop film, sparking my passion for photography. During this time I also became interested in local history. I think this came from my grandmother, Helen Alway, who always took great pride in telling stories about growing up in Amber Township.

For many years a small weekly newspaper called the Mason County Press was published. I don’t know the entire history of the paper (not yet, but I am researching it) but it folded sometime in the late ’70s, then was revised for a short time in the ’80s. I can’t remember how much writing I did for the paper, but I served as a “stringer,” writing anything from history articles to sports stories.

I spent my first few years of college at West Shore Community College, which is where I took my first formal photography class, taught by Todd Reed. At that time, Todd was the chief photographer of the Ludington Daily News. Todd picked up on my interest in journalism and photojournalism and suggested to managing editor Paul Peterson that he should hire me as a correspondent. My job evolved from paid-per-article to part-time to full-time. I owe Todd a lot and have always considered him one of my mentors (and a dear friend).

I spent seven years at the LDN before moving out of the area for a short time. During this time I worked for the Grand Haven Tribune and then decided to start my own photograph business, Alway Photography (which I now operate with my wife, Becky). Like I said before, I have always had an interest in telling people’s stories and I believe as a portrait photographer that is what I do; I create family heirlooms that last generations.

As much as I love the portrait photography business, I missed journalism and photojournalism. I missed the written word complimented with pictures. So, after a 12-year hiatus, in 2009 I re-sparked my journalism career by working part-time again for the LDN. I loved this job and enjoyed being out and about in the community and recording history as it happened. That job ended three weeks ago when the new owners of the LDN cut the size of the newsroom staff down (along with other jobs at the paper). I need to state right now that I understand that this was a business decision and I did not take it personal.

But, I have come to terms that I am a small town journalist/photojournalist. Losing my job at the LDN can’t stop that. So, for that reason, I started MasonCountyPress.com. I love this area and I love living here. I love the fact that Becky and I live in one of the oldest homes in Scottville and that it was built by my great-great-grandfather and was home of my great-grandparents for over 60 years. I love knowing my neighbors, whether they live next door or 10 miles away. I love that my entire immediate family lives within a three mile radius of me.

I am proud to be a Spartan but I also support the Orioles and Cardinals equally. I am proud to be a Life Member and treasurer of the Scottville Clown Band. I was a founding board member of the Scottville Main Street committee and serve on the Scottville planning commission.

I spent 15 years in the volunteer fire and emergency medical service, serving proudly on the Hamlin Twp. and Scottville fire departments. I am on my church’s finance committee and its visual arts ministry. I enjoy walking and skiing in the Ludington State Park, Scottville Riverside Park and my family’s 159 acre farm in Amber Township. I think Stearns Park is the best beach in the world. I believe communities should sustain themselves and I think buying local is one of the most important ways to do that. I take pride in knowing that when I spend money in Scottville or Ludington that money is supporting my neighbors. I love Mason County. And that is why I started the MasonCountyPress.net.

I look forward to growing this online publication. It will take a lot of support from others who have a love of this area as well. I need contributors who can write stories and send in pictures. If you have that passion, drop me an email at masoncountypress@gmail.com. MasonCountyPress.com is owned and operated by Alway Photography, Inc., 405 N. Main Street, Scottville, MI 49454.

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