Milo Miller is the Publisher of two publications widely-read in Amish circles – The Budget & The Diary. I had the pleasure of meeting Milo at his office for the first time on a visit to Sugarcreek, Ohio in 2019 (below photo). I asked Milo if he’d answer a few questions for us about The Budget and related topics, so I hope you enjoy this behind-the-scenes Q&A.
There is also a new book coming out that you can enter to win. It’s a neat book if you are someone who enjoys The Budget and the concept of Plain community correspondence writing in general. Called Who is Who in The Budget Volume III, the book is just what the title says – a compendium of Budget scribes. But it’s more than that, which Milo shares here a little later.
Win a copy of Who is Who in The Budget Volume III
To win a copy, simply leave a comment on this post. And just for my own curiosity, you could let us know if you’re already a Budget reader, or if you have read in the past. I’ll draw a winner at random and announce it here next week.
Milo G. Miller on The Budget & More
Amish America: Can you tell us a bit about yourself, what do you do at The Budget and how long have you been there?
Milo Miller: I am Milo G. Miller, Publisher of The Budget and The Diary. I have been a part of The Budget team for nearly 16 years, since 2005. I’ve been Publisher of The Budget since January 2018. I have been Publisher of The Diary since The Budget acquired it in August 2018.
The Publisher role oversees every aspect of the publication; from content, to human resources, to printing, to scheduling, to page layout along with day-to-day operations and long-term forecast and strategies. Essentially, I oversee every aspect of the publication.
I am a 2002 graduate of Kent State University. I live in beautiful Sugarcreek, Ohio with my wife, Kerry, along with our two dogs. I am originally from Anchorage, Alaska, but moved to Sugarcreek as a child and grew up and went to school in the community.
My paternal side of the family is from the Amish. My father was raised Amish in Sugarcreek, but never joined church. My grandfather, Milo M. Miller, was an Amish Bishop and was one of the founding members of the New Order movement. My heritage in the United States dates back to “Wounded” John Miller in the first organized Amish settlement in the Americas known as Northkill.
Amish America: What is working at The Budget like?
Milo Miller: I have my dream career; being the Publisher of The Budget! I could not imagine doing anything else. Every day is different and has its own set of unique opportunities. The Budget has a responsibility of being a vital communications link between the growing Plain Community settlements. We recognize the importance of this publication for the Anabaptist faith and we strive every day to ensure we provide the product that is needed and desired by our growing audience.
What makes The Budget unique? Why do people read it?
The Budget was first published on May 15, 1890, and is the first newspaper serving the Plain (Amish and Mennonite) Community. The Budget is a collection of reports (known as letters) from hundreds of Plain Community settlements across the Americas. We have over 1,000 “scribes” who send letters regularly (some weekly, others biweekly) with news from their community; weather, crops, births, weddings, funerals, interesting happenings, church news and much more.
The Budget audience, affectionately known as “Budgetland”, reads this weekly publication to stay updated on the happenings throughout the Plain Communities. While the Amish population is rapidly growing, the origin is rather small with many common ancestors. Many of our Anabaptist paths have crossed over the centuries, making this growing community feel like a small family.
Photo: Jim Halverson
Typically, Amish and Mennonite families are large and have expanded over the years to different areas. Many readers have family and friends in multiple settlements in different states. The Budget is the vehicle that allows them to connect with friends, families and strangers alike in other settlements. Our goal is to be their voice and their communications link.
What’s something people might not know about The Budget ?
Some people believe newspapers are a medium of the past, however The Budget circulation continues to grow. The future of The Budget is very bright and we look forward to publishing for many future generations.
Who are your scribes?
Our scribes represent Plain Community settlements throughout the Americas. We call them “scribes” because they are recording the happenings and history of their community. I believe they are journalists in the purest sense of the word; they are responsible to accurately, unbiasedly report the events from their settlement in a timely manner.
Who is your readership?
The Budget readership is mostly Amish and Mennonite readers throughout the United States. We also have strong readership in Plain Communities in Canada. There are “English” readers as well, but that is a small minority of our total circulation.
What’s your favorite part of your job? And least favorite, or most challenging?
My favorite part of the job is connecting with our readers, scribes and advertisers. Hearing how The Budget has impacted their lives, their families and their businesses.
While I don’t have a least favorite, there are challenging aspects to any career. The most challenging in our world are deadlines. Being a weekly publication, we work in tight windows to publish each week (on average The Budget is 68 pages each week). While The Budget is accustomed to these schedules and deadlines, we always need to be on the top of our game. Once an issue is published, we don’t take a break, we begin working on the next. Which keeps the entire Budget team sharp and ready for the next challenge.
Any interesting/funny/surprising stories from working at The Budget?
I think my favorite stories are from Budget scribes. Every day, I hear The Budget typesetters laughing at a humorous story from a letter, or giving an update on a situation that they have been following. While there are 1,000 scribes, they all seem like neighbors and friends. We follow their lives and their communities. It is very rewarding. It’s always an honor to meet scribes in person, because it feels like being reacquainted with a friend.
Another one of my favorite stories is when readers approach me at events and frequently ask me this question:
“Do you know why I am extremely popular?”
I ask “why?”
They respond “Because I get over 700 letters from friends each week in my mailbox, it’s called The Budget!”
I love this, because it shows the connection, impact and importance of The Budget in their lives. The readers become friends with scribes, many of whom they never met before, it is very special.
What is Who is Who in the Budget Volume III about? What do the first two volumes cover?
Who is Who in The Budget Volume III is a directory and stories of over 600 Budget scribes that represent Plain Communities throughout the Americas. Each of the entries include details of the scribe and information about the community they represent in The Budget . Volume III includes a never before published history of The Budget and the Ohio Scribe Gathering. The book will include reproduced, historic photos and front page covers. Budget friend and Executive Director of the Amish Mennonite Heritage Center, Marcus A. Yoder, crafted the foreword. The 8.5″ X 11″ directory will have 544 pages of information you will not get anywhere else.
Volume I (published in 2000) and Volume II (published in 2011) focused completely on the scribe and did not contain settlement information or a detailed history section. Volume III, the first edition published by The Budget, reads more like an interview with the scribe. It is a question and answer format. It is composed alphabetically by state and city for easy research. New to Volume III is the Epilogue. This contains over 30 pages of history of The Budget and the Ohio Scribe Gathering along photos and historic front page covers. Volume III is enhanced with information that I believe readers will find of great interest.
How can readers order The Budget and the book?
The easiest method for ordering The Budget and/or Who is Who in The Budget Volume III is by calling The Budget: 330.852.4634. We accept all major credit cards.
The Budget is $48 for a year (52 issues) or $88 for two years (104 issues).
Now through Friday, April 30, you can order Who is Who in The Budget Volume III at a discounted rate of $20 per book. Please add $5 for shipping per book. Ohio residents please add $1.35 sales tax per book. Beginning May 1, the book price will increase to $25.
Mail orders are also welcome for both The Budget and Who is Who in The Budget Volume III. Please make checks payable to The Budget and mail to: The Budget, PO Box 249, Sugarcreek, Ohio 44681.
A thank-you to Milo for giving us this closer look at the world of The Budget.