From politics to media

Can you believe we are already up to the Jugfest and next week is graduation? Where has the time gone?
Hope you are looking forward to the Jugfest activities. This annual event brings visitors into our community and gives us a chance to put our best foot forward. You never know when the impact of your interaction with someone might end up affecting your community. Someone could be so impressed they decide to locate a business downtown.
After the Jugfest we have the election primary. The sheriff’s race will be decided Tuesday as there is no Republican opposition so be sure and vote. Yes, I know in Crawford County you have to request a Democratic ballot if you want to vote in the sheriff’s race. I personally think it should be non-partisan but at this time it is not. I know several sheriffs who feel that way as well but if it became that way it would take money from the parties involved, so that probably will not happen.
It’s a shame we get so caught up in the party and not the person.
Hopefully, if you have not already voted, then you will on May 24th. I know some people want to vote on the real election day, not early or Saturday vote and that’s perfectly fine. I say, whatever floats your boat. Our individual difference is what keeps life interesting.
Though each of us at the newspaper, are individuals and have our own opinions and vote our convictions when we go to the poll, as the newspaper itself we try to remain neutral in the elections. We do not want to cause any friction or seem as if we are favoring one candidate over the other in our coverage so we stay away from the personal campaign events. A meet and greet is different as is a public forum, but then we try not to single one candidate out at those events.
Politics can bring out the worst in folks and you get to see what they are really like. If someone spouts professionalism and then acts just the opposite or attacks the other candidate, that says something about a person’s character to me. You can run against someone and not sling mud at them. You see the thing about mud is it can scatter and end up right back on you. Keep it clean and you won’t have to be wiping mud off your own face.
The older I get the less I understand why some people act the way they do. I am pretty tolerant and believe in giving people a chance before forming an opinion.
As I have said before, your friends and enemies change on a weekly basis if you are in the newspaper business because it sometimes depends on what’s in the paper that week. That is not real friendship of course. Over the years people have wanted to befriend me because they wanted to get something in the paper and thought that would give them a leg up. We don’t make those kind of choices about what goes on in friendship or enemies. If it is newsworthy, not libelous or slanderous and is truthful, then there’s no reason for an item not to go into the paper. Sometimes it has to go in as advertisements though, as we are in a business as well.
A journalist friend of mine and I were talking after a meeting we covered recently. Part of the conversation we were having was about Jesus and our church experience. He laughed and said, no one would ever consider that journalists talk about Jesus. I agreed and said, yes, most think we are the enemy and out to get them.
We are lumped in with all media and while I understand that, community journalism is quite different from mainstream media. We live in the communities we cover. We care about those communities and we interact with people in the community on a daily basis. We eat and shop there. We don’t have an axe to grind, nor do we have a list of people we want to get even with or to expose.
We have a job to do, and are trying to keep the public informed and stay abreast of community issues and happenings and include as many as possible in each week’s edition. We want transparency in government and will fight for the public’s right to know. We may be different in that we were given inquisitive minds; we seek the truth and want to know the ins and outs of issues, what entities are doing and we can ask a lot of questions. If something looks or smells wrong, then we are on a quest to find out the story. If a governing official won’t answer a question, or fidgets when we ask a question or request a record, our radar goes up.
But, we are people as well. Not all of us are liberals or Democrats. We go to church on Sunday, we have family gatherings and we have other hobbies. We frequently work nights and weekends covering events or meetings or just trying to meet a press deadline. We love telling your stories and most of us admit when we have made a mistake on a story. We listen to concerns and when needed, we voice those concerns to the community. We participate in our communities when we can and we champion the accomplishments, along with recording the community’s history.
That history is not always shiny and bright. Sometimes it is dirty but still has to be reported.
Each of us has a job to do and I chose being a journalist. It’s rewarding, frustrating, fun, tedious and sometimes the day is long, just depending on what day it is. But I thank each of you who help make the job easier, who answer our questions, send us your stories or pictures or contribute in any other way.
If you attend Jugfest this weekend, we’ll see you there.©2016
VICTORIA SIMMONS is an author, columnist, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: vsimmons54@gmail.com

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About vsimmons54

Veteran journalist of 40 years. Editor, Motivational Speaker, Ordained Minister, CEO of A Light in the Darkness Ministries, Lensclusive Photography, Babbling Brook Consulting and Design, event planner and author. I love to write and speak and I love Jesus. I also do copy writing and editing. Recently co-authored Vanished Towns Revisited.
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