A year in the life of an Island (newspaper)

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On Wednesdays at the Martha’s Vineyard Times office, we figure out what stories should go on the front page. Typically, there are two or three “most important” stories. These might be hard news — “Vineyard Voters Feel the Bern, but Massachusetts goes to Clinton” (March 3), or “Feds snatch Island gardener’s medical marijuana plants” (July 28), or “Dog that jumped from ferry Martha’s Vineyard rescued by passing boater” (Aug. 11). They might feature reporting on decisions by selectmen or another regional body: “MVRHS committee approves turf field” (May 19), or “Cheryl Andrews-Maltais elected tribal chairman” (Nov. 23). Front-page stories may just be stories that underscore something important about Island life at that time of year: “Four annual town meetings on Tuesday” (April 7). Sometimes they are stories we wish we never had to report on: “Island mourns lost fisherman” (June 23), or they are stories that honor Islanders: “Martha’s Vineyard Marine receives medal for heroism in Afghanistan” (June 30). The front page features a photo that either goes with one of the stories, or another important story that starts inside the paper, or now and then just a photo that captures a sense of the Island during that week — photos of snow-covered woolly sheep or victorious Little Leaguers, or women in a rainbow of prom dresses.

We like to think that the entire News section (maybe the entire paper) is a time capsule of sorts: a portrait of life on Martha’s Vineyard in a single week. The front page of the paper, we hope, is the essence of that time capsule, a quick look at one point of time in one little place in the universe.

Taken together at the end of the year, we hope the covers of our newspaper from 52 weeks of 2016 will distill not only time and place, but also the pace of life here on Martha’s Vineyard — season in, season out, winter, spring, summer, fall.

We hope they remind you of the rich texture of the lives we live here. Or at the very least, how hard we try to report on that.