Walking into newsrooms across the country, readers would see the same thing: journalists hard at work to cover stories and to present the facts. On a local level, that may mean reporting on a city commissioner meeting, school board, a court case or the latest sporting event. On a national level, it might involve impeachment proceeding with President Trump or the Turkey/Syrian conflicts, if reporting on world news.
When I walked into The Marshall News Messenger a month ago, I knew I was in for an adventure. Transitioning from the editor of a group of weekly newspapers, to a daily platform … it’s not something for the faint of heart.
Inside the office, it’s pretty much a standard newspaper. A police scanner chirps in the background (if someone hasn’t turned it down.) Keyboards clack away, much more quietly than their predecessor typewriters. A group of journalists work hard to capture the history of the town and to report the news.
As I walked into the conference room for the first time, I was mesmerized by a wall of historic newspapers, framed in all their glory. The black and white type sits commemorating important time periods in history. A Jan. 24, 1973 headline proclaims the ‘Vietnam War Ends’, in large camouflage print, even above the name of the newspaper.
A May 7, 1945 paper heralds World War 2 ending as the ‘Nazis surrender unconditionally.’ In the April 16,1912 paper, the headline of the day was ‘1400 Lives Lost in Sinking of Titanic Monday.’
In more recent days, the Dec. 18, 2014 edition congratulates Waskom on bringing home their first state football title. In the Sept. 12, 2001 edition ‘Day of Terror’ is displayed in probably the largest font to ever grace a front page headline. A lump gathers in my throat when I look at that edition.
As journalists, our mission is to record the history of the communities we serve. I believe that everyone has a story, and that it is our job to tell those stories and to record the history. We can only do that with the continued support of our readers.
Recently, across the country National Newspaper Week was celebrated. We would like to take this time to thank all of our readers, subscribers and advertisers of The Marshall News Messenger. Without you, we wouldn’t be able to be the record-keepers of history, or to continue to tell your stories.
On the other wall in the conference room is plaque after plaque from the Associated Press, the Texas Press Association and the North and East Texas Press Association recognizing the efforts of the staff who work tirelessly to chronicle the town’s history.
These reporters work long hours and make sacrifices in their personal lives gathering facts, telling stories and recording history. I encourage you to tell them thank you, give them a nudge of encouragement or even ask if you can give them a hug (reporters startle easily so definitely ask first.) As journalists they didn’t get into this profession to make the most money, but rather because they have a calling to the craft of being a journalist.
As newly appointed editor of the newspaper, I invite you to come by and visit, call me or just chat with me on the street. After all, this is your paper. We’re just the ones that have the honor of chronicling the stories.