The new reporter at the Pekin Daily Times may not be a new sight for readers of the paper.
Before starting his part-time position at the Pekin Daily Times Monday, Mike Kramer had been working as an independent correspondent for the Times News Group since March 2017. His previous experience includes 20 years as a journalist in the U.S. Navy.
“A Navy journalist often has to be kind of a one-man band,” said Kramer. “If I was the editor of a base newspaper, I wrote articles, took photographs, laid out the pages, and proofread the first draft. At a broadcasting detachment, I would have to shoot video, write copy, edit the video, narrate the stories I shot, and work as a either a floor director or a technical director in the studio when we shot the nightly newscast. I always thought print journalism suited me best. When it came to broadcasting, it was kind of like watching a ballerina mud-wrestle. I could do it passably, but it really wasn’t my forte.”
After retiring from the Navy, Kramer converted his Montgomery and Post-911 GI Bill benefits into a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and a Master of Science degree in U.S. history at Illinois State University. It was not the prospect of a lucrative salary that attracted him to journalism, but rather an exalted sense of the work’s importance.
“I don’t think anybody goes into print journalism to get rich,” Kramer said. “They do it because they want to be watchdogs of democracy, or modern day town criers. I’ve always said that informing one’s community, whether that community is Tazewell County, the United States, or the world, is a very honorable way to earn a paycheck.”
Kramer added that his favorite assignments so far have been features.
“Features are just fun to write,” he said. “It’s always good for my ego to write about a new local business opening, for example, see a lot of likes and comments on the paper’s Facebook page, and think that just maybe, I’m helping that business attract customers by letting them know about a new store or a new restaurant. I’m looking forward to informing Tazewell County residents about what’s going on in the area for the foreseeable future. I’ll do my best to live up to this important responsibility.”
Exexcutive Editor Jeanette Brickner is thrilled to bring Kramer on board in the newsroom.
“Mike is already plugged into the community and has established many contacts. He has done a great job for us as a correspondent, and I am sure he will continue to do well as a reporter,” Brickner said. “We are glad to add Mike as a resource to help cover the local happenings for our Pekin readers.”
If anyone has a story idea for Kramer, contact him at 346-1111.