Thursday, June 22, 2006
This week is one of relief with some sadness mixed in.
A rather lengthy stay on the Mississippi Press Association Board of Directors will come to an end. I will attend my last roundtable meeting, now in the role of immediate past president.
My “second job” for the past 10 years or so will be gone. I will no longer receive several e-mails a day from the MPA office or fellow board members. I won’t have those road trips every two months to meet and make the best decisions possible to benefit the MPA’s membership, daily and weekly newspapers in our state. The teleconferences will be few and far between.
I can’t really remember the year I was asked to serve on the MPA board and gladly accepted. I know it was in the mid-90s, while I was serving as publisher of The Aberdeen Examiner.
I gladly accepted, following in the footsteps of my journalism mentor, Rubye Del Harden. She is a past president of MPA who encouraged me to get involved in the statewide association when I first went to work for her in 1986.
My involvement in MPA over the years has been a valuable learning experience, from a professional and personal standpoint, and loads of fun.
There’s no better way to learn more about newspapers than to be around other newspaper folks. I’m sure that’s true with any profession.
I’ve picked up so many tips and ideas from my fellow editors and publishers across the state of Mississippi - more than I could ever learn at any workshop anywhere. Mississippi’s newspapers are the best, and there are some of the best people running them, period.
I’ve grown so much during my years on the MPA board, in particular, during my years “on the ladder” from treasurer, to president-elect, to president. Those were some of the most hectic years of my professional life, but at the same time some of the most rewarding.
My family has sacrificed a lot due to my MPA involvement. I appreciate their love and understanding. Hopefully, my dedication to MPA will be an example to my own children, leading them to develop professionally and personally through like organizations when they leave home in future years and enter the “real wold.”
The greatest thing about my tenure on the MPA board has been the friendships I’ve built. Actually, many of those friendships started 20 years ago when I first moved to Mississippi and attended my first MPA event.
When a conversation comes up today, and someone mentions Vicksburg or Prentiss or Carthage or Bay St. Louis or Belzoni or Monticello or just about any city in the state, big or small, I can say, “I know the newspaper publisher. He (or she) is a friend of mine.”
The network of friends, folks who would do anything for me and vice versa, stretches from the Gulf Coast, to the Delta, to the capital city, to the Pine Belt, to the hills of North Mississippi.
The board meetings have been like regular reunions. Sure, we’ve had our differences and tackled some tough issues, but we leave as friends. The laughs have always out-weighed the stress.
I did this for free, but there’s no way I could put a price on all I’ve gained from my stay on the MPA board.
Even though I’m leaving the board member seat, I have no intention of dropping my involvement in MPA. As long as I’m in Mississippi, the statewide press association will continue to be a big part of my life.
And the main reason is I need my friends. I need their words of encouragement and advice. I need their knowledge. I need their hugs and smiles.
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