“Have you lost your mind?” a friend responded to one of my recent columns.
That got the old noodle off in an unexpected direction. Not about the column in question, but about why I bother to write any column.
It’s all about newspapers, I keep reminding myself.
I was in the business long ago and worked with many great people. Oh, many were good to great writers, but more were just great people. Most were poorly paid, working hard to meet deadlines and put out a good product. All were people who seemed to really care about community and neighbors, such as the late Leroy Morganti.
But more and more people in communities don’t seem to care about their local newspapers. They get instant news from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. Or tune into cable TV or talk radio. As a result, newspaper advertising is down, subscriptions are down, and prospects aren’t so rosy.
So, I says to myself like Popeye, what can I do to help? Well, 37 years ago when I first syndicated a column I could demand $2 a week per column.
Hmmm. I started sending out a column once a week for free. At least I could help local newspapers save a few pennies. At best I might help attract readers.
You see, I believe we all should support these unique enterprises and preserve the vital roles newspapers play for communities.
They provide practical information and constant snapshots of community.
“Look, Susie Smith made the honor roll. Poor Mrs. Longbottom passed away. They foreclosed on that house across the street. There’s a great holiday tire sale starting tomorrow. Wow, they caught the people breaking into those houses. Ed Fitzgerald turned 50. Dadgum ad valorem taxes are going up again! Look and see what channel the game is on.”
Often times, they have been the courageous voices, speaking up when politicians were silent or befuddled. They hold feet to fire and fire-up lazy feet. They show us at our best, our worst, our indifference. They reveal tragedy and illuminate fulfillment. They get us to start things never started otherwise.
And, they are so darn useful… to put under paint cans, wrap up fish entrails, protect breakable stuff in boxes, make paper mache, start the fire and line the kitty box (no doubt a popular place for my columns). Mama used to wrap my feet in newspaper to keep them warm at freezing high school football games.
So my friend was right. It probably is crazy to think my meager efforts could have any influence on the fate of local newspapers. After all, I’m no Tom Paine.
As for my columns’ content? It’s intentionally as crazy as Common Sense, seeking to inform and instigate… ponderation if nothing else.
Bill Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Meridian and can be reached at email@example.com.
BEFORE YOU GO…
… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.
If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.Click for more info