A refresher course in why we do what we do

Published 1:20 pm Monday, November 24, 2003

By By Connie Nowlin Managing editor
From time to time, I question my sanity because I went into journalism. Not only journalism, but community journalism, where things are a little more laid back than other beats, and where the salaries … well, let's just say Dan Rather makes a lot more than a community newspaper employee.
When there are as many layers to a place as there are in Atmore (and all small towns, I bet) there are far more stories to miss than get covered. That is in part because you have to live here a while before you know the youth league soccer team is going to play for the district championship. Besides, if you are from somewhere else, it may take a while before it dawns on you how important that is in the scheme of life in a small town. It matters an awful lot to a whole bunch of
Moreover, in a small outfit like ours, there are no specialists.
That means that in any one day, everyone in the office may take ads for yard sales, type school lunches, and talk to the people that call in because they did not get the paper.
Recently I fielded one of those calls, and I could tell the gentleman on the phone was agitated that his paper had not come in the mail to his home on the edge of town.
I was between finishing one story and starting the next, so I hopped in the truck and took the last couple of issues out to the house at the address he had given me.
Here was a nice little house on a quiet street. No television could be heard from inside, and the home was equipped with ramps, making it handicap accessible.
Another member of the family answered my knock, and took the papers, so I never got to meet the gentleman on the phone face-to-face.
But he gave me something that day.
He gave renewed meaning to the work I do. Sure, he and dozens of others may have cable access, Internet connections and radio broadcasts all day long.
They know what is going on in Mobile, Montgomery, Atlanta, New York.
But who else is going to tell the people here about what goes on here? That is our job, our responsibility, our honor.
I came back to the office feeling a whole bunch better about our role in the lives of this town, new commitment to telling the stories of those lives.
So if your kid, or grandkid, is playing soccer this year, let us know.
Connie Nowlin is managing editor of the Atmore Advance and may be reached at 368-2123 or email at connie.nowlin@atmoreadvance.com

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