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Just a thought…

By Staff | Aug 20, 2012

Being the editor of a small town rural weekly newspaper is one of the best jobs in the world, despite the high level of stress caused by the weekly deadline. It certainly keeps the old adrenaline flowing.

I enjoy working with people and on a daily basis I meet many. Everyone has a story to tell and most are quite interesting. Over the course of my 23-year career in the newspaper business and working for three different ones, I have met a lot of people. Each city I have lived in had people with different names, nationalities, spellings, and pronunciations. I had to learn them all, keep them each straight and learn everyone’s relatives, as well. It is an enjoyable challenge.

In addition to meeting people, I have had to learn human nature and how it works. A sociology of sorts with a little psychology thrown in for good measure.

Among the truths I have learned in the process, are that most people are basically good. Each person has both bad and good traits in them. People, as a whole, tend to judge others too quickly without having all of the information. There are exceptions to this, of course. For the most part, I can get along with anybody with very few exceptions. This trait has been a particular joy in my life and in my career.

Small rural towns which are a great place to raise families together are great, but it is a trade-off that every one seems to know everyone else’s business and rumors (Mostly untrue because rumors take on a life of their own as they are passed along) are rampant. Fortunately, one important thing that my mom taught me was to believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you actually see for yourself.

This has been good advice for my work in the newspaper business. Of course, before I can tell a story to readers, I have to verify the facts. First, I have to understand the facts, put them in plain English and then write the story. Sometimes the teller gets things wrong and sometimes, I interpret, in error, what the teller says. It is challenging but I enjoy this work.

As anyone can imagine in over 23 years of writing stories, many the same story over and over again (town festivals, annual events, etc.) it can get a bit monotonous. It is actually my job to make the story as fresh as I can. It can be fun to find new ways to say something old and ordinary, add new life to a retold story.

The sad part of my job is that I know so many people, that their deaths when they come are sad for me, too. Their challenges are mine, as well, as we are a community.

I may even know the people who get into trouble with the law and their extended families. That makes it difficult to write a factual story about them. I have to live in this town after the story is written. At the same time, I have a responsibility to keep the public informed with the truth.

Being a small town editor is interesting, fun, challenging, educational, and rewarding.

It is part of the job to have my finger on the pulse of the community. I hear what is going on. I have learned to keep my nose to the grindstone, do the best job I know how to do with the circumstances I have been given, and keep cranking out the best newspaper,along with my faithful staff, that we can produce.

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