A Day In The Life - Correne Martin, Associate Editor

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Courier Editor Correne Martin

Pictured is Editor Correne Martin with her husband Randy, son Trace and daughter Gwen.

By Rachel Mergen


“The news is never typical. It’s one of the things that keeps me pretty inspired,” Correne Martin, associate editor of the Courier Press, mentioned about the thrills of her career.

“Newspapers are one of the most important ways for people to find out about events, the local government and schools,” she said. “It plays a good role of informing them on what’s happening in their own backyard.”

She stated newspapers will be the way people will be able to learn about today, in the future. Without newspapers, history may be more challenging to access.

Martin started in her journalism path by majoring in English at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. She originally went for accounting, but realized English was a better fit. She realized telling people’s stories, as everyone has one, in her opinion, was the job for her.

“I always wanted to be the girl on the sidelines who reported, because I loved sports,” she explained. Her first job was with the Fennimore Times, before starting at the Courier Press.

Each week, Martin tries to set up three interviews, along with covering local events. She believes it’s important to attend events to get the best pictures possible, while also trying to show that the newspaper is a part of the community.

Martin encourages people to send in story ideas. She explained, “It’s [the community’s] newspaper, as much as it is our product. I would like for people to realize more that they can be involved, they can send us pictures, they can write up something, and we will edit it and tweak it. It’s a reflection on their community.”

For photography, she works to take pictures of people with interesting expressions, along with nature shots out in the wilderness or in the countryside.

She noted to gain skill it takes much practice with photography. She recommends rarely taking photos of crowds, but instead focusing on single faces in the crowd. Also, to try to get up as close as possible to the object of the photograph.

How the paper layout is organized is based on what interests the community, whether it’s a byline story or something sent in. 

“It’s putting a puzzle together,” Martin explained about the process of creating the paper.

At the end of the day, she added, “With each issue, we can shut the cover of the book and move onto the next issue. If you have a bad time with something or a bad day, or made a mistake, which we do our share of, we can just shut that cover and move onto the next issue.”

In the office, there is “one of every different personality found out there in the world.” The staff is one “odd family somehow,” according to Martin. Teamwork and communication is key to completing each edition of the paper.

Reflecting on what she finds the most pleasure in at work, she said, “Seeing the finished project when its done and realizing all your hard work came to fruition and wondering how people will perceive that.”

Martin appreciates being able to get out of the office, enjoying a beautiful day and getting to know the people of the community. She adores the exclusive opportunities, like speaking with music stars, getting up close at events and being the first to know about a lot of news.

Some of her favorite articles to write are those that include couples who have been together for many decades, or people who have interesting hobbies. 

Some of the hardest parts of the job include normally only hearing the negative feedback. 

She noted deadlines, as expected, can cause extra stress too.

“You can’t judge people on what they say and how they act, because you don’t know what their demons are behind closed doors or you don’t know what kind of day they are having,” Martin said of what she reminds herself when having a tough moment.

Charlie Roethe, a longtime owner and editor at the Fennimore Times, taught her  she needed to simply “keep punching the keys and don’t let anything bother me too much,” she recalled happily.

“Some of my favorite moments have been following high school sports teams going to state, or seeing them achieve post season success. I’ve cried behind the camera a lot of times when they’ve won, but probably more often when they lose, because of the emotion on those kids’ faces, knowing that they gave it their all,” Martin said, tearing up even thinking about it. “They put so much work into it, and they just didn’t quite get there.”

On the emotional complexity of the career, she admitted, “I don’t know if it’s professional or not, but I have always worn my heart on my sleeve. I’ve cried with people during interviews. I’ve cried behind the camera at accident scenes. I’ve always been very respectful, like if I go to, say, a crash scene, where I know it may be a fatality, I stand back and let the professionals do their jobs. I just use my zoom lens to get the best picture possible, because, to me, I don’t need any certain award to get the best picture, if it means someone’s life was taken.”

In interviews, she hopes to make sure those she’s speaking with see her as someone who is friendly, who truly cares, and is “not just there to sell papers, but to help tell their story and preserve it for the future.”

Her other passions in life, away from the office, are being a wife to her husband Randy and a loving mother to her young children Trace and Gwen, who are her priorities above anything else. She’s grateful for the ability to spend the important moments with them, thanks to a flexible schedule. 

Martin said about the end of her day at the office, “I try to tie a bow on the day and go home and begin the day again with my family.” She attempts to keep her family and work lives as separate as she possibly can, but she is thankful her career has led her to taking her children to many more events than she probably would have otherwise. 

Martin concluded, in talking about the Courier Press staff, “We are all human. We are community members, too. We really care what happens.” She hopes she will continue to be able to write about mostly positive news in the community. With each story, she hopes she is able to write a happy ending to the tale.

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