Did you hear what Johnny did?
In my line of work, it never ceases to amaze that it is so easy to come up with the dirt. Just about every single day someone will call, message or text me to make sure I am aware of what so and so is doing, or what is wrong in their world, and then ask, “why can’t the newspaper do something about it.”
This week alone there has been stories of black mold in the classroom, back door dealings at City Hall, John Doe was caught with Jane Doe, and the list goes on and on.
American journalist Hunter Thompson once said, “If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people - including me - would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism.”
That is one of the most honest statements about journalism ever made in my opinion, and it applies not only to mainstream media, but to community news like we do here in Bowie County.
If I was to want to, like Thompson, we could expose the dark underbelly of life. Where he chose politics, Las Vegas, the Hells Angels and other topics for his investigative journalism, the topics here could be much simpler.
Let’s face it folks, most everybody has a little mud on their boots.
Yes, I believe we have an obligation to tell the stories that really need to be told. You bet there are wrongs in our area that need to be righted, and we will do our part, and have.
But, the Tribune is not nor ever will be about slinging mud, printing stories based on speculation, or a gossip rag. There are plenty of methods on social media for the mud to be slung.
Recently I was approached by some folks to run for a political office. I did not do so simply because politics breeds the kind of mudslinging, dirt digging garbage that I am so opposed to. If you dig deep enough on anybody you can find some smudges and skeletons, and a choir boy I have not always been. Most likely, everybody reading this has something somewhere they don’t particularly want the world to know about.
Think about that. See, you do.
So, here is what I generally say to folks that come to me with dirt.
“I will look into it.” And I do. Just this morning calls were made to verify the truth on something that was brought to my attention. Was it true? If it was, you will see it in the paper next week.
Right now today there is a list on my desk of stories about that black mold, a teacher that was dismissed for allegedly having inappropriate relations with a student, a faculty member whose contract was not extended, and a break in at a local campus committed by juveniles, two of which are in elementary school.
Will those stories make the paper? Stay tuned.
But please let me finish by saying again that the world is an ugly place and we all know that fact. We are saddened daily by senseless murders too close to home, rampant drug activity that seems to go unchecked, and our men and women in blue being killed in the line of duty.
It is so prevalent in our society today that watching CNN, or even the local news, comes with a handful of Tums and a prayer to Heaven.
All the while, there are a million good things going on around us that go unnoticed. Things like students getting AR points, individuals helping the homeless, book fairs, field trips, businesses opening, softball, baseball, revivals, scholarships, chamber banquets, pageants, etc.
That is the good stuff. Those are the kinds of things that make you smile, make you laugh and make us all realize that there is still good in the world.
We have had a philosophy here at the Tribune for a few years now that the paper is not just a means to get out the news, it is a part of the community. We live here, work here, shop here. We have kids playing ball, tires that go flat, and the news affects us just as much as anyone else.
When there is an armed robber on the loose, we go out and look for them right alongside the police. When schools close because of the flu, we care. When a local student writes a story about their school, we run it. When an obit goes on Page 6, we know them.
It is, community news, for the world YOU live in, and so do we.
Let’s all try to make our world a better one. Love is a verb.