The Yazoo Herald is one of the best newspapers around.
I make that comment boldly, and perhaps with too much confidence, but that is how I feel about this paper. When I type my name on its front page and wipe the ink smeared across my fingertips, I feel good whenever I hold her crisp paper in my hands.
I am happy to announce that The Yazoo Herald won numerous awards during the state newspaper contest last week. I walked away with the Bill Minor Award for investigative reporting, sweeping the entire category. It is the fourth time in my career that I have brought the award home to Yazoo.
Not too bad for little Yazoo.
I will be the first to admit, you will find some errors now and then. And the print job sometimes isn’t perfect. But we are a proud and hardworking community newspaper.
Community newspapers are needed now more than ever. Global and national news can be found at your fingertips so quickly in these modern times. But community newspapers are where readers go for information about what’s happening close to home. The Yazoo Herald is the place to find any news pertaining to Yazoo County.
Unfortunately, the “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality arrives when controversial or tragic stories come from our small community. Those large media outlets “from the city” begin arriving in Yazoo City, and before you know it, our small town has made headlines beyond our zip code.
But when the flash of the bulbs and the sensational headlines fade into memory, The Yazoo Herald, like all community newspapers, remain…pounding the pavement and covering the news.
Business tycoon Warren Buffett was quoted as saying that “if you want to know what’s going on in your town – whether the news is about the mayor or taxes or high school football – there is no substitute for a local newspaper.” And he’s right.
Times are changing for the business. We are adapting to digital platforms while improving upon our traditional print model. We are operating with much smaller staff.
But every morning, we arrive at work with a spirit of optimism mixed with a hardball of raw grit, ready to give Yazoo her news. Good news; bad news; slow news; spot news…it’s the ink that reveals those hidden heroes. It’s the ink that exposes corruption. It’s the ink that provides information. It’s the ink that gets results.
That same ink has been good to me. It has provided me with a living with a roof over my head and food on my dinner plates. It has given me a platform for change and encouragement. It has brought me awards and honors.
But it has also given me a tough skin. It has gotten to the point where angry emails and face-to-face curses do not bother me at all. I’ve grown immune to bitter commentary on social media from individuals with axes to grind, and I continue to remain patient when an angry caller doesn’t want to hear an explanation.
Yazoo is a great community with its shares of mountains and valleys. But it is my home, and she is the backbone of my profession. The Yazoo Herald serves as her informer, entertainer and watchdog.
That is the importance of community journalism. That is the power of the press, and I remain as committed today as when I first began.