A history book in some form or fashionBy TIM BEELAND,
I was flipping through the pages of a newspaper with the same date as this one, November 6, from 11 years ago on Monday and ran across the column I had written. It was, in part, about the divisiveness of the election that year between Barack Obama and John McCain, and the problem some folks were having telling the difference between opinion pieces like the ones found on this page and news items like the ones found on page one.
It was about how people can have different opinions on different things and not necessarily be wrong or right. About an election in which some would threaten to destroy others’ livelihood rather than accept the fact that another person could think differently.
Wow, not much has changed!
Fortunately the statewide elections have now come and gone. This paper printed hours before the polls even closed on Tuesday, so at this writing I have no idea whether we have a Democrat moving into the Governor’s Mansion in January, or if a Republican will continue to walk those halls. Personally, I have little respect for either of the candidates we were allowed to choose between, but I did vote, and I picked one over the other.
Now we move on to, or perhaps I should say continue on with, next year’s presidential race.
I am not here to try to change anyone’s mind nor influence anyone’s vote so don’t worry about that. I don’t want to take up that fight. I do read a lot of newspapers and value the opinion of other publishers, editors, and contributing writers even when I don’t agree with them. I’ll admit that with some of them I do struggle with the “value” part at times, but I do try.
That said, it does seem that there are times when readers forget the role newspapers played in making this country great the first time as politicians continue to bash our names. You know, there was a time when newspapers were about the only means of mass communication we had in this country.
So important was/is the power of the press that it is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. No other mass media has that protection.
Everything changes with time though. If you don’t believe it, look in the mirror — I struggle with that every morning when I pick up my razor. Today newspapers have more competition than ever. There are more television channels, radio stations, and of course, the Internet.
Times are not as tough economically as they were in 2008, but Mississippi has been slow to recover from the so-called Great Recession, and a good many businesses — small mom and pop type businesses never did. That’s a shame, because I truly believe had we tried harder to help each other be successful — shopped at home more — some folks would still be around offering their goods and services rather than having had to shutter their doors.
You know, a newspaper is a business just like all other businesses. Our goal is to make enough money for our employees to make a decent living, and to pay our electric and gas bills, and all the other bills that come naturally with the operation of a business, while providing what is still a very valuable service to our community and our readers.
At the same time, we are the keepers of the history of our community. We take the raw materials of thoughts and ideas, and the lives of everyday human beings, and we turn them into a tangible product. We turn them into a history book.
We write a new chapter in that book every week. It may not be the perfect book, and it may not be the book that everyone that purchases it hopes it might be. It is, however, still a history book and hundreds of years from now people will still be opening the pages of this book to see what was happening in Scott County, Mississippi, as another decade came to a close.
It may not be the paper form — it may not even be the Internet form. It may very well be in the form of whatever replaces the Internet, but, it will be here. In some form or fashion this history book you are reading today will be around forever.