Community newspapers have been a passion of mine since my high school years.
I got “ink in my blood” when first visiting my hometown newspaper and talking about possible part-time positions.
And that love for community journalism grew and grew and grew from there.
In fact, about 40 years later, it continues to grow.
When traveling, when we stop to get gas, I typically buy a community newspaper from that specific town or county.
My wife Pam tries to always make sure she has plenty of quarters for the racks when we’re traveling.
Each week, I have the pleasure of receiving several weekly newspapers from where I grew up (Marion County, Ala.) and across Mississippi.
I like to keep up with my friends.
But I also like to take a look at what those newspaper staff are doing on a weekly basis. Perhaps we can take an ideal and make your community newspaper, The South Reporter, better.
It is also interesting how the stories cropping up in those communities are sometimes similar to the ones we’re reporting on in Holly Springs and Marshall County.
In Hamilton, Ala., The Journal Record reported on March 28 that the city’s police chief is urging the city council to hire a school resource officer to monitor local schools. The request came in the wake of the Valentine’s Day school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., which left 17 dead.
Of course the big headline in the March 28 edition of the Lawrence County Press was Monticello native Cindy Hyde-Smith being named by Gov. Phil Bryant to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Thad Cochran. She took office earlier this month.
A special election for the seat will be held November 6. Qualifying deadline is April 24.
In Carthage, members of the Mississippi Army National Guard E/106th Forward Support Company, departed for Ft. Bliss, Texas, and from there to Kuwait. A big send-off was held with citizens lining the streets and waving United States flags. The Guardsmen are expected to return in about a year.
In Crystal Springs, the mayor and aldermen were publicizing the city’s annual Clean Up Day. As has been the case in Holly Springs, city workers joined with citizens in the effort to make the community look better.
In Fulton, the Itawamba County Development Council held its graduation for the Junior Leadership Program. Twenty high school participants wrapped up the eight-month program by presenting the results of the four community projects they completed.
In Bruce, the Calhoun County School Board is reviewing applicants for the next superintendent of education.
Weekly newspapers have changed, particularly technology-wise, in the past 40 years I’ve been in the business, but at the same time the focus of the good ones stays the same – and that focus is simply community first.