Here’s hoping for nothing but good news days
For the better part of three decades, I have sat at a keyboard and worked to share the stories of the communities in which I served. Whether it was small communities in Alabama, large cities in Texas and everything in between from Virginia to Mississippi, the stories are both tremendously different and the same, all at the same time.
For me — and for those of us at The Post — sharing stories is far more of a calling than a job.
The deep connection between this newspaper and the communities it serves makes that calling a cherished responsibility.
Last week marked six years in Vicksburg; six years that have meant much to me professionally and far more to me personally. In those six years, I have written hundreds of stories, taken countless photos and helped produce more editions of The Post than I care to count. In those six years, we have also seen the launch of Vicksburg Living and seen our digital products, such as our website and daily email newsletters, reach audience levels far larger than any comparable markets our size.
In those six years, Stephanie and I have also been blessed to see our children grow and thrive.
In those six years, I believe I have spent an amount of money equivalent to the gross domestic product of Portugal at local concession stands while watching my children take part in just about every youth sports organization in town.
And, we have seen them grow and thrive in the classroom at a number of schools within the Vicksburg Warren School District.
All of this is to say that the biggest story, the most cherished and memorable story of the past six years has nothing to do with work, the beats I cover or the breaking news stories I have been a part in telling. The biggest story of the past six years is my family in Vicksburg.
In journalism, editors and reporters are challenged to be unbiased, but when it comes to a community newspaper and the journalists, we are anything but. In a town where we live, where we work, where our children go to school and play, we are not unbiased. In a community where we go to church, take walks with our wives and shop for groceries, we are not unbiased. Nor should we be.
In our newsroom, we cheer for our local sports teams not because it would make for a better story, but because we know the coaches and we know the players. Many have become dear friends and for some in our newsroom, they have seen today’s juniors and seniors grow up. We are not unbiased.
Each day I and my teammates at The Post come to work, we hope and even pray for a good news day. We look forward to telling the good stories; the stories of growth, prosperity and success. Sadly, though, that is not always the case.
And even when the stories are heartbreaking, it is our job to tell the story and our calling to do it in a way that does not add any additional pain and suffering for those affected.
Vicksburg may not be where I grew up, or where I went to school. There are points and places in Warren County I have yet to visit — or get lost. But that in no way changes what this community has meant and continues to mean to me and my family.
When it comes to this community — our home — I am far from unbiased. I want, need and expect this community to do well and will do what I can, whenever I can, to help that process along.
Tim Reeves is editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.