Petzold was known for believing everyone had a story. Brett McLaughlin, whom he hired as a reporter in 1972 and who later served as publisher in 1991-2001, told Andrew Dietderich of Tuscola Today: “He sends me out to a house on M-81, just past Ellington and says ‘They got a great story there.’ I said ‘What is it?’ and he says ‘Just go, you’ll find out.’ I went and I knocked on the door and these people didn’t have a clue what the great story was. I can’t remember what the story was but I can tell you I came back with something. His point was, there’s a story at every door. He believed everybody had a story to tell and somebody else cared to hear it so get out there and write it.”
Petzold addressed how he would describe what he did if someone walked into his newspaper office and asked what he was doing:
- I have a very special challenge and opportunity in this community.
- I am not too important in my community but I try to be important to my community.
- I chronicle and preserve the on-going history of my community – not just stories about the big shots but about wonderful everyday folks as well.
- I focus attention on my community problems, its needs and challenges and try to arouse people to do something about them.
- I try to stand up for the little guy and try to be brave enough to stand up to the big guy if he gets too pushy.
- I make heroes out of the good people in my town who do things that might otherwise get missed: young football heroes, pretty beauty queens, wonderful neighbors, talented craftsmen, happy newlyweds, delightful jubilarians. I have the honor and joy of recording their special moments that, summed together, make up life in my community.
- I also have the job of pegging the heels in our community: isolating the few who use, or rather abuse their power, money or public trusts at the expense of the rest.
- I am sort of an unofficial member of every club and committee, because I help promote and publicize their good work and help their civic projects succeed.
- I don’t make a lot of money…some months none at all, but I feel well paid with a feeling of fulfillment and of being someone special and useful to many people in this community.