I am a lazy writer. I don’t know why, because I love to write.
There has always been something cathartic about sounding off about things I care about or strike me as interesting. I did this for many years at the Courier -Express in DuBois, but as they say, all good things must come to an end and my time as a columnist there ended the day my son Andrew’s career as a columnist for the Courier began.
I started a newspaper after I retired from teaching. The technology now available made it surprisingly easy to do. I was upset that the news from the area in which I lived–Reynoldsville and Winslow Township in Jefferson County–was not getting the coverage it should. Nobody knew what was happening locally. All they knew were the police reports on various websites that made Reynoldsville look like Chicago under Capone.
I knew good things were happening there, many more good than bad. As the pastor of a church in Reynoldsville, I saw what the people of the area were doing for each other, how hard they worked to make things better and I wanted to tell their stories. Thus, Reynlow Community News was born.
I write the majority of the articles for the paper, but I have others who have written in the past and/or continue to write for me. I started covering municipal meetings on a regular basis and reporting on those because what happens at those meetings affects us more deeply than we know.
Since the paper is a monthly, I needed a way to keep people up to date between times so I started reynlownews.com and its related Facebook page. I felt like a reporter again, some 27 or so years after I left my job as news director at WCED/WOWQ and became a teacher.
A funny thing started to happen after all of this began to get readers–the other media outlets began to pay attention. Some started reading the stories on reynlownews.com and began to get their own stories from them. I suddenly found I wasn’t the only reporter at municipal meetings. TV news started showing up to events.
It all underscored what I believed when I began all of this—we matter. Sure, we’re small in numbers, but what we’re doing and what is happening to us matters. Our voice is just as important as the voices in larger municipalities across the area.
I don’t see other news outlets as competition. I often share story ideas and information with them. In fact, I’ve made some friends along the way. I’ve come to realize how tough their job is. One reporter covers most of Jefferson County by herself and getting paid next to nothing.
The news coverage has changed as well. What we used to call fluff pieces–stories that make you feel good but have no real important information– on are now on the front page. The important stuff, the stuff that should be on the front page, is buried and several days or weeks late.
The columns have changed as well. Instead of think pieces, instead of presenting a reasoned argument and allowing the reader to reach a conclusion, things have switched to nothing more than propaganda. They wrap themselves in the flag and name-call opponents, which is a sure sign they really have no argument to begin with.
The newspaper business is tough. I barely scrape by, but I’m not complaining or poor-mouthing. It is what it is. Because of that, I have refrained from expressing myself as I did when I was a columnist for fear I would offend too many people and make this business even tougher.
Sink or swim, I can’t remain silent anymore. I’ve reached the boiling point over the hypocrisy and sheer lunacy that’s being passed off as normal these days. I have to respond, even if that response will only be read by a few people. I want to give voice to the many I know who bristle at how we are all lumped into one category of people who can’t think for themselves. I want to challenge the long held biases and prejudices that are holding us back from the dialogue and understanding necessary to survive in this new world.
This lazy writer is shaking off the dust and putting thought to word.
And so it begins.