Just a newspaperman

Our friend David St. Lawrence, a recent transplant from Charlottesville, wrote the other day about life in Floyd County, a stream-of-consciousness ramble in quasi-verse form. Looks like the poets who dot this landscape like ladybugs on rugs are starting to rub off. Apart from poets, our local writers seem to be bursting out faster than Spring wildflowers: Fred First, the sage of Goose Creek, is about to publish his first book. David is working on his second one.

Our friend David St. Lawrence, a recent transplant from Charlottesville, wrote the other day about life in Floyd County, a stream-of-consciousness ramble in quasi-verse form. Looks like the poets who dot this landscape like ladybugs on rugs are starting to rub off.

Apart from poets, our local writers seem to be bursting out faster than Spring wildflowers: Fred First, the sage of Goose Creek, is about to publish his first book. David is working on his second one.

Amy has long been on my back to write a book – one based on 40 years in journalism or on my sojourn to the dark side of politics. Either, she claims would be a best seller.

I’m not so sure. Drop by a Barnes & Noble and you find bookshelves overflowing with long tomes by journalists recounting their view of history or less-than-literate accounts of political life by so-called “insiders.”

Legendary Chicago newsman Finley Peter Dunne used to say “a journalist is an unemployed newspaperman.” I’m not a journalist. I’m a newspaperman. Always have been (even with not working as one) and always will be. And I’m an employed newspaperman once again, thanks to The Floyd Press, which allows me to cover the county government, circuit court and shoot pictures of high school athletics. Being able to do so is as much a part of getting back to my roots as reestablishing residence here in Floyd County.

For too long I forgot about the joys of writing for a newspaper. Newspapermen (and women) serve a unique role in a community. It doesn’t matter if you write for a weekly like The Floyd Press or a massive daily like The New York Times. You are the chronicler of life in a community, the conscience of society, always watching, always questioning, and always searching for the truth beyond the hype.

Pete Hallman drilled that into me when I first went to work with him at The Floyd Press in 1963. I was a smartass, know-it-all high school student who saw the Press as a temporary stop on a road to journalistic glory.

“News is not about you,” Hallman said. “It’s about the people who live here, the community we serve and the events that shape our lives. Become a student of our community and you get the best education of all.”

Hallman’s lesson stuck and served me well as I moved on to larger venues. And that same lesson brought me back to Floyd County when I realized that, over time, I had lost the sense of community that comes with small-town journalism.

I don’t know that I will ever write a book. But I will continue to write about the foibles of our local government and photograph the triumphs and failures of high school sports.

Home is not only where the heart is. It is also where real news is found.

And an old newspaperman is here to report it.

Share:

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

3 Responses

  1. Continuing to write about your community and local issues is admirable. Major media is so enamored with the next-big-thing that they cannot bother with getting the immediate news correct. As such, I am very disenchanted with major media. Plus, our local newspaper (Atlanta Journal Constitution) had a billboard advertizing they provide the news interpreted. I don’t want the news interpreted by someone else’s prejudices, I just want the news. So, back to your writing/reporting community and local news – that’s an important effort, and appreciated by many.

  2. Doug,

    Ever since your return from your very short retirement the once daring and biting truthfulness that I had come to admire has vanished from your rants. There has been such a drastic change that I’m sure it hasn’t gone unnoticed by all your dedicated fans yet I see no other inquiries into the meaning. Your rightful attacks toward the wrongful acts and speech’s spewing from that once somewhat more truthful and less obvious fascist stronghold the Whitehouse and Congress have been reduced to the point that it rivals the purring of a new born kitten. It is said that an animal doesn’t change its stripes overnight but Doug Thompson had a substantial personality alteration over that fateful weekend of blissful retirement after a beautifully blistering and truthful week of rants. Those of us not addicted to the cleaned, starched and pressed mainline news were hopeful that now the truth was about to come out from a respected news person, and maybe those to blinded by what should be could now be made aware of how they were being manipulated by Washington and the media. You laid out for all to see what you felt they could handle which is to say that you know a lot more of what is going on than what you said but you cushioned it so the talk a lot but do nothing readership would not go off the deep end . The holes that you left in your rants were being filled in by the readers and if the entire blog was read one could leave with the whole story, or at least most of it.

    Then came that weekend, plus a few days more, and upon your return it seems that part of you remained in retirement. The part of you with a burning love for freedom, that part in which the words and teachings of the likes of Jefferson and Franklin lived did not return. I for one do not believe that the blood of a patriot can be cooled that quickly without outside assistance but I will not speculate more than that.

    The old Doug Thompson, his fire, his drive, his quest for the truth and his drive to make others understand what is happening to this country was sorely needed and the void left by his retirement is to broad to see across. Hopefully he will return someday because the need for his kind is needed more with every passing day. Until then may he enjoy his retirement.

Comments are closed.

On Key
Related Posts
Keeping time around the world

Keeping time around the world

In a period of my adult, professional, life, I spent many days (and nights) on planes flying around the world. For many of those years,