News – the creation of it or my reaction to it – seems to be a common thread in last week’s letter to Ellen and Reid.
I like the very notion of being involved in news. It’s fun, challenging, is a creative outlet of sorts and, given my father’s fondness for it (including the Omaha Sun Newspapers), there is some history of family involvement in the newspaper business. I’m glad this apple didn’t fall too far from my father’s tree.
March 28, 2016
Ellen/Reid: For some reason I was moping here on the couch last week when out of the blue comes this opportunity to be the editor of a small town paper. Talk about going from the very low to the very high. The very thought of it is just so energizing and it has the potential to turn my retirement plans – such as they were – 180 degrees. The Mint Hill Times is undergoing a re-birth since its acquisition by some folks who have publishing experience but no real newspaper experience in the news sense. That’s what I can bring to the table. I just love the idea of being a news guy again. It would rip a page out of your late grandfather’s career when one of his first news jobs after World War II was to work for the Sundance Times and Crook County News up in Wyoming. My initial meeting was Friday with one of the co-owners, a woman who was the first to hear my ‘this is how news ought to work …’ diatribe. As we wrapped up our lunch at The Hill, a local bar in Mint Hill, I got up from the table and walked outside to a street corner to cover, and file, my first story for the paper, a Good Friday gathering of several hundred worshippers. She set up a Saturday morning meeting with her husband and the other owners over coffee at a local McDonalds to talk about editorial philosophy. It went fine.
What’s up in the air is how much time I can devote to this endeavor; although we talked only about part time work, by necessity it would really be full time at first and who-knows-what later. Most small papers like The Times are highly dependent on advertising to make things click and they are just getting up to speed. A lot of the news would be soft features. No real hard news to speak of but mostly goings on in town. That’s the nature of the beast. They have a group of six free lancers, not counting my students, that whoever ends up being the editor would have to ride herd over. News organization is a big deal for them since they have no real process in place. I owe them an outline of how I’d run the virtual ‘newsroom’ since they have no physical office as of yet. We’ll continue to work through things this week. But if nothing else I’ll be a writer and that’s fine, too. My students aren’t stepping up quite like I expected them to but I’ll goad them over that hurdle.
My plans this week were to head to Charleston tomorrow for another day trip of fishing but that’s on hold now in view of the newspaper discussion.
About 20 folks from my golf Meetup group will head to a funky concert venue, The Fillmore, this Friday night for a tribute show to the Eagles. The place will be absolutely jam packed and I’ve snagged about 30 free tickets. What the place gives up in terms of ticket prices they make up for in $10 beer. But it gives my people something to do beyond golf and that’s okay. Basically, we’re doing whatever it is I like to do on Friday nights. Now I’m just asking people to join me.
Ellen, California looked fun, and so did the photos of Kyle’s wedding in Mexico, Reid. Here’s a plug for your next travel plans: I’ve got spare rooms, too, and you guys are always welcome. Hint, hint.
North Carolina turned a deeper shade of red last week by pushing what amounts to blatant state-sanctioned discrimination against gays and transgender people. The legislature spent $42,000 on a one day special session to overturn a Charlotte ordinance that allowed transgender people to use restrooms of their choice. On top of that, they rolled back protections for gays in all communities. Honestly, the Republicans are just morons. They yammer about protection for women and children, a problem that doesn’t exist anywhere such local laws exist. Businesses are up in arms about it but legislators keep citing the same lame arguments about religious freedoms and such. It’s a complete whitewash of decency and fairness. On second thought, don’t travel here. Your tourist dollars would be better spent elsewhere. We can call it a family boycott. We can always head to Hilton Head.