News hound fills in the gaps

Dec. 22, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

Starting a new job is like that first day of school. You’re surrounded by new people trying to make a good first impression.

It’s a bit stressful, but nothing new to this news hound.

While you may have read the article on the front page of The Daily Courier on Wednesday about my career, let me try to fill in a few holes about my life.

First and foremost, I am a farmer’s daughter. I grew up on a 160-acre farm that my parents purchased when they were first married in 1955.  We raised beef cattle and swine and grew corn and soybeans. Being the second eldest of four children (two boys and two girls), helping out on the farm was a necessity. Ask me to drive a tractor, I could do it. Need to have hay bales pitched into the hay loft, I can do that too. If a barn needs to be mucked out — I’ve done that too, And if a tractor needed its tires or oil changed, well that wouldn’t be a problem. As a farm girl, I could do most anything most boys could do in the neighborhood.

Working on the farm was not a life-long career goal. I have wanted to work at the newspaper since the day our fifth grade class toured The Clinton Herald. Seeing the AP Wire spit out photos, hearing the clanging of the manual typewriter keys and watching the press spit out newspapers at massive speeds was impressive. My mom says when I came home that day from school, I told her I wanted to work at a newspaper. Little did I know, my first job out of college would be working at The Clinton Herald as a news librarian, writing obituaries while maintaining the newspaper’s clipping morgue. In 1982, it was a great first job learning from solid newspaper professional who had been in the business for three decades or more. The education I received from the veteran journalists, was better than any college classroom lecture. 

Though the years, I had the opportunity to interview some impressive people: President Gerald Ford, Dr. Henry Heimlich, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and other numerous presidential hopefuls who traveled throughout Iowa.

While those individuals are interesting, I’ve often felt the most impressive people I’ve interviewed where the common folks who make a decent living and try and help others who  need a simple boost in their daily lives. Whether it was the farmer who won the largest ear of corn contest at the Iowa State Fair; the local women’s church circle who make more than three dozen quilts for the needy; or the young girl who survived a house explosion; everyone has a story to tell. One shouldn't have to be famous to get your name into the newspaper.

A curmudgeon editor once told me, that are two times when a person’s name will appear in the newspaper: when they are born and when they die. It’s up to the newspaper to fill in the blanks between the dash. 

From time to time, this newspaper and many newspapers around the country, will wonder why we do, what we do. You may not like reading some stories we publish. They may contain information you just don’t want to read.

But remember this: your local newspaper should not be your best friend; it should be your candid friend. That’s our job. A newspaper should not be a public relations sheet filled with goody-goody news all the time. A newspaper must strive to be a reflection of the communities it serves — that includes the good, bad and ugly news. 

As I begin my life in North Carolina as the new kid on the block I have a challenge for our readers: Call me. I want to take you to lunch. That’s right ... I’m buying. There are no strings attached to this offer. I just want to meet people and learn more about what makes this beautiful area of North Carolina a great place to call home.

Besides, I have all this free time on my hands since I won’t have to shovel snow anymore.