Thursday, September 22, 2016

EXTRA EXTRA, 'The Docket' is a Hit

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT – Everything that’s going on in the county Clerk of Courts Office, that is.

A lover of news and newspapers, First Deputy Clerk of Courts Michael Paston is using his desktop publishing skills to create a bi-monthly newsletter for his staff, bringing them up to date on everything from new hires to employee milestones. Everyone’s birthday gets listed in the newsletter and there’s also the occasional trivia question.

“We’re always looking at ways to increase morale and get people who don’t work directly with each other learning things about each other. It just creates a better work atmosphere if people know some things about each other and have something in common. So, I thought a newsletter might help,” Paston told me recently.

“We’re just trying to appreciate people’s work a little more and make their work day more pleasant,” Paston added.

It’s called “The Docket” and Paston said the reaction has been “favorable.”

“People really enjoy it,” said Paston, who previously worked in the printing business and handles the writing and design on his own time and at his cost on his home computer.

The first edition being August/September 2015, the newsletter recently marked its first anniversary.

“Every edition we ask a question which everybody answers. It’s usually amusing, like ‘What’s your favorite record?’ or ‘Who would you like to meet?’” Paston said. “That gets people talking.

“There are no controversial topics or anything like that. It’s supposed to be light and fun. I make 45 copies and everyone gets one,” Paston added.
First Deputy Clerk of Courts Mike Paston reviews 'The Docket'/Photo by Carl Hessler Jr.

Other recent questions posed to office staffers included: “Where in the world would you most like to visit?” “What is your favorite movie?” “What do you collect?” and “With whom would you most like to have lunch?”

Office clerk Greg Brooks contributes an environmental column to the newsletter, educating colleagues about such things as waste reduction practices, like using reusable bags.

In some issues Paston interviews others who are often seen inside the Clerk of Courts Office but who aren’t employees of the office.
“There are people who are in the office every day but not everyone necessarily knows who they are,” said Paston.

For the June/July 2016 issue Paston interviewed Lavern Adger, who cleans the second floor office each day. Paston said the article was “a hit.”
“Just after our day ends, Laverne starts the job getting our office ready for another day and she does a great job,” Paston wrote in the article, adding Laverne enjoys cookouts, spending time with her children and grandchildren and watching Sunday Night Football, cheering for the Eagles.

A frequent visitor to the office during my daily news gathering activities, I was asked to sit down for an interview about my job for the August/September 2016 edition. I am sure there are some in the office who saw me there every day but weren’t quite sure what I was up to. Now they know.

So, Paston switched the tables on me and I became the interviewee. I have to admit, it was a bit uncomfortable being the subject but Paston put me at ease as he asked about my background and the “biggest cases” I’ve covered in court.

Paston posted the article, “Carl Hessler Keeps The Beat on Criminal Cases” on the front page, along with a photo.

Mike, maybe you should consider a side career as a journalist or headline writer.

While newspapers and magazines nationwide are focusing more and more on online content as opposed to print, Paston said he wanted employees to have something tangible.
“People like to read it. They can clip something and hang it up. If you put it as an email attachment and they don’t have time to open it they’ll never open it again. It will just go away,” Paston said.

While it might be considered old-school, Paston actually enjoys holding a newspaper to read it.
“I get two newspapers every day and I read them cover to cover. And I still buy books and my kids get mad at me,” Paston joked, explaining he enjoys holding a book rather than reading one on an electronic device.
Mike Paston/Photo by Carl Hessler Jr.

Mr. Everybody’s Business likes his philosophy. There’s just something about holding a newspaper or book in your hands that can’t be replaced by an electronic version.

“The Docket” is impressive and I’m sure it’s appreciated by the staff.  Kudos to Paston for creating this little publishing gem that boosts employee morale! 

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