The Voice of a City
A good newspaper is the voice of a city talking to itself. The new publisher of the Moab Sun News , Heila Ershadi wants that conversation to be informed and robust.
Originally from Tennessee, Heila Ershadi made Moab her home 11 years ago and began freelance writing for the Moab Sun News and other publications. In November of last year, when owner Andrew Mirrington decided to sell the paper he founded in 2012, Heila and her fiancé, Kevin Brydie, saw an opportunity unfold.
Moab Sun News
“Being a freelancer for the paper, I knew it was a solid, established business with a great team,” Heila says. “The founder, Andrew Mirrington, wanted to keep the paper local and committed to quality, Moab-focused journalism. We were excited for the opportunity to carry the paper forward and build on its strong legacy.” Since Heila and Kevin took over, online traffic has risen from 6,300 followers to more than 7,000 Facebook followers, and their print circulation is 4000.
Publishing a newspaper, even a weekly one, is a lot of work, but that doesn’t bother Heila. “Kevin and I love our new roles with the Moab Sun News,” she says. “The team is amazing — both our staff and our freelancers … It’s definitely a team effort, and we are lucky to have a great team.”
Heila admits that publishing does have its particular challenges and describes publishing a newspaper as coordinating a hundred different parts. Stories, ads, layouts, deadlines, distribution and more all have to come together and go to press on time.
“Mistakes are highly visible and can potentially impact other people,” she explains. “There is the apt saying that newspapers are ‘the first rough draft of history.’ It’s a big responsibility to get all the facts straight, and present them in a fair manner — and do it on deadline, week after week.”
Despite its small size and tourist-based economy, Heila is impressed with Moab’s diverse residents and their articulate and highly varied viewpoints. “In addition to running letters to the editor, we have a special place in the paper called The View,” she says, “in which we feature guest columnists on a range of topics. I’m consistently impressed by the quality of the submissions we receive.”
As for the future, Heila has every reason to be optimistic. “The paper’s founder, Andrew Mirrington, created a strong news organization and we feel fortunate to be a part of the paper moving forward,” Heila says. “We are off to a strong start. Our readership has continued to grow and more businesses have begun advertising with us. There are some exciting new projects on the horizon for the Moab Sun News, so stay tuned.”
They might be front page news.
Moab Sun News
30 South 100 East #1
PO Box 1328, Moab, UT 84532