As the new editor for The Country Today, I have just one thing to say to our readers: Help!

I’m a city kid. I’m a few generations removed from farming, with my great-grandparents the last generation on either side of the family to grow up on a farm. While I spent my college years in a small town in mid-Missouri, that time is the only one in my life when I’ve really lived out in the country. My formative years were in the St. Louis metro area. To paraphrase Glenn Frey, I belong to the city.

My wife, on the other hand, comes from a very small town in northern Missouri. For her, that same college town was a big step up in population. I’ve learned a lot from her and spending time with her family, but that can only take me so far.

So I need to hear from you. I need to know what you like from our paper, what you would like to change, and what the issues you would like us to spend some time on. In short, I want you to help me answer a key question: Who should we be as a paper?

I can’t pretend to understand rural America the same way as people who have lived it their entire lives, and I’m not going to claim otherwise. I can’t say I understand the issues nearly as well as our readers do. That’s why I need your help.

Teach me. Let me know what kind of things I need to learn. Tell me what you want to see in this paper.

I really should say our paper. Because the one thing I can see immediately is that The Country Today isn’t the same type of product as the papers I’ve spent my career in. It’s clearly more dependent on the things our readers send us and say. It’s a different relationship, a little closer, more collaborative. Kind of like how I’ve watched as my in-laws relate to their country neighbors differently from how my parents relate to their city neighbors.

I can be reached at matt.milner@ecpc.com. You can send us a note on our Facebook page, too. And, if that’s not an option, I’m always happy to receive a letter at:

The Country Today

PO Box 4001

Eau Claire, WI 54702

I know I have a lot to learn. And I’m looking forward to hearing from readers. Help me get my feet under me so I can understand what you want out of this paper.

I can’t promise I won’t make mistakes at first, but what can you expect out of a city kid?