The Yazoo Herald would not be where it is today without the help of some very important people behind the scenes.
Four of its employees, some for decades, have put in long hours to get the newspaper into the hands of its readers. Often at work in the newspaper’s warehouse, these dedicated people often go unseen in the public’s eyes.
But they are a vital part of The Herald’s operation. Without them, it wouldn’t be possible.
Lillian Simmons Mitchell has been working for The Herald since August 2, 1981.
Lillian started out stuffing papers 36 years ago and is currently operating the warehouse of The Herald as the mail room clerk and forklift operator. She also works the delivery route, cleanup and other duties as well as helping the other ladies prepare the issues for distribution.
Lillian rose to her current position after her husband, the former supervisor Dennis "Big Baby" Mitchell, passed away in December of 2013.
"We used to have the press in the back,” Lillian said. “Dennis was the press man. He operated the machinery. The newspapers were made onsite back then."
Lillian said that once Dennis began to fall ill due to complications with diabetes, he began to teach her everything he knew about running the mail room.
Lillian does a great job in following in his footsteps and strives to make sure operations continue to run smoothly so that subscribers and other customers can receive their newspapers in a timely manner.
When Lillian is not working at The Herald, she is spending time with her many grandchildren ranging from five to 17 years old.
Earnestine Jones began working for The Yazoo Herald on August 11, 1995. Ernestine works in circulation and distribution, where she and her partners prepare thousands of paper editions a week to be mailed out or delivered to businesses for purchase.
Earnestine has seen many people come and go at The Herald, but she said that for her some of the biggest changes in her job had to do with the introduction of new technology to the news business.
"It has changed a whole lot," she said, "I think the progress was slower back then, but now it’s a lot better. It used to be a machine we would clamp and stamp the papers with, but now we have labels that you just peel and stick."
When she is not working, Ernestine, or "Mama Jones" as they call her, spends time with her 11 grandchildren, ranging in ages from three to 20 years old.
After 22 years of working at The Herald, Earnestine has experienced very few challenges and has nothing but positive things to say about her news family.
"I like the people,” she said. “It’s like a Herald family. I've had sad days and the glad days. But I've enjoyed it. It’s been great."
Irene Woods started at The Herald in 1986. In her 32 years behind the scenes, she has worked hard in the circulation and distribution of the newspaper.
Irene and her partners work like machines in the warehouse, stuffing inserts into thousands of issues, sticking mailing labels, and boxing and bagging newspapers for distribution all over the county and other states.
"We used to have a machine back in the day," began Irene. "It was like the peel and stick models we use now, but the old way would mess with your wrists. You would have to use it to clamp down onto the papers, but I like the new way better."
Irene said that the best part of her job over the years is the people, and says that the only difference for her is that she makes more money now than when she started all those years ago because of her dedication to her work.
When Irene is not at work, she enjoys spending time at home relaxing and enjoying the peace and quiet after a long day on the job.
Another notable employee is Terry Odom, a retired member of the Army National Guard, he began working for The Herald full-time in 2012 to help with circulation and distribution as a delivery driver and also to keep up the maintenance on all the facilities at the newspaper.
"I love the people here," said Terry. "Of all the jobs I've had, this has been the most stress-free."
Terry's job consists of a 220-mile route, picking up the newspapers from the printing office in Greenville as well as delivering the issues to three post offices, 25 businesses, and newspaper machine racks all over Yazoo County.
Terry said the only challenge he ever faced was getting adjusted to all the different stores and business owners and managers who he delivers to every week.
Terry said he loves being a part of The Yazoo Herald team, adding that “you learn something new every day."
When Terry is not working, he enjoys spending his time in his garden at home or maintaining his yard. But what he loves most of all is getting to talk to his granddaughter Rebecca, on the phone as she attends Clemson University.
These employees may work behind the scenes at The Yazoo Herald, but they will always be a very important part of the news team in making sure the public get their papers twice a week.