I love newspaper readers, but please read carefully

Some things never change, and the reality of collateral damage from news stories is one of them. Plus the fact that I really just don’t like it when it happens.

Our cover story last week (www.smokymountainnews.com/news/item/18931) examined concerns about how the presence of alcohol in rural Haywood County might change small communities like Fines Creek, Bethel or Jonathan Valley.

A thank you to local media

By Greg Christopher • Guest Columnist

This time of year, as many people are counting their blessings, they also realize they want to publicly share their good fortune to others by ways of different acts of kindness — to family, friends and even complete strangers. Sometimes, it can be easy to take our good fortune for granted as our day-in and day-out routines take over our minds, so I want to use this Christmas and holiday season as an opportunity for a professional yet humble and thankful evaluation.

Historians discover lifeless remains of the truth

So this, perhaps, is how we in the traditional — and dare I say legitimate — media will meet our demise: fake news.

And just this past Saturday I was so optimistic that traditional journalism was somehow going to survive. I was visiting my daughter and some friends at Appalachian State and had a conversation with a college senior who is doing an internship at a High Country newspaper. He was full of that youthful excitement about journalism and was unrestrained about his desire to pursue a print newspaper job after seeing the effect his stories had in the small community his newspaper serves. I came home thinking of my own ambitions at that age and believing that young people like him would surely help our industry continue to do its important mission in our democratic society.

On being a columnist for a small-town newspaper

op columnThree months into this, I’ve decided that being a columnist for The Smoky Mountain News is potentially more challenging than being one for The New York Times. I’ve never been a columnist for a big-city publication, but I bet it’s easier to get lost in a sea of fast-paced New Yorkers after a contentious or honest column than it is to walk into Joey’s Pancake House where one knows half the occupancy. Growing up in Weaverville, I’m no stranger to the small-town vibe, a vibe that’s both comforting and precarious.

Fortunately, the ‘ups’ outweigh the ‘downs’

op frSometimes I forget why I love it so much. The truth is that newspaper work is partly satisfying, partly frustrating. Just ask any of my co-workers.

Luckily, the satisfaction that comes from helping a small business gain new customers and find success, from a story well-told, and from making a small difference in the way an important issue is decided is what sticks, making up for many of the frustrations.

How about them apples?

fr NCPAThe Smoky Mountain News won more awards in the large circulation, non-daily newspaper category than all but one newspaper in the state during the recent N.C. Press Association Advertising and Editorial Contest.

This must be the place

art theplaceBoo yah. That was my exact response (loudly) when I was informed last week I’d won a few awards from the North Carolina Press Association that were handed out at their annual banquet in Chapel Hill. First place “Arts & Entertainment Reporting,” second place “Columns,” and third place “Niche Publication.”

Pisgah High Millennials ready to voice their opinions

op frSomewhere at this very moment, a political science major is writing a dissertation on why young people these days are so apathetic with regard to politics and the issues. In the 2014 election, for example, slightly less than 20 percent of people between the ages of 18 to 29 cast a ballot. According to The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, that is the “lowest youth turnout rate ever recorded in a federal election.”

Native American journalists face unique issues when it comes to free press

coverJoe Martin had never worked for a newspaper or owned a handgun when he took the reins of the tribally owned Cherokee One Feather in 1995. 

But when the first changed, so did the second. Then a 26-year-old whose only job experience since graduation from college was as a cage cashier at the casino, Martin found himself fast-tracked to a steep, steep learning curve.

The public – not the newspaper – deserves to know

op frI’m sure the founders of Haywood County’s new charter school — Shining Rock Classical Academy — never imagined a week like the one they just had.

Not only was our newspaper challenging them on what we feel sure were violations of the N.C. Open Meetings Law, other media were giving ink and air time to problems at what may become the new location for their school. Seems surveys done at the property damaged the corn crop of the farmer currently leasing the site. Lawyers have gotten involved, meaning the site acquisition process just got more complicated.

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