Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Another opportunity at learning

My morning writing has me thinking about the lessons learned over the weekend. I’m always excited when I learn interesting things. I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong, even when embarrassing. If I make a mistake and I am wrong, I’ll own up to it and do what I can to make it right. 

For instance, one of our rules with the newspaper is in only covering local news. I wrote about an event and left out names of those who did not live in “our” area. Someone sent a letter. I feel bad. It’s a wake-up call. Sometimes in my trying to be fair and do things right, I do not look at the entire picture. I’ve been trying to make rules and guidelines stricter than needed. 

1. I realize even though there’s a “rule,” we have to be flexible. Sometimes I need to look at a bigger picture and see all who would benefit from the information. 

2. Trying to be fair and treat everyone (and every town) exactly the same is unrealistic. I was afraid that if we allowed something in one area, it would open it up to others expecting the same. I now understand that each instance and story needs to be treated as its own moment.  

3. I’ve also come to realize that treating everyone the same is not fair. Some people need more molly-coddling (and yes, I fit that category) especially dealing with artists. This is how it is. We are all humans and need to be treated with respect and not put in a box designed to make us all alike. We are not all alike. We may have similarities, but we also have differences and all aspects of a person deserve respect. 

4. One of the reasons I love my editor job at the newspaper is that we pride ourselves in being small-town/local. All of the above has to be realized to maintain the type of integrity we want with the InterTown Record. We want to be able to recognize individuals and not just see a group of people as a whole or entire town. When people are no longer seen as individuals, the individual no longer matters and they become numbers and statistics that are easily written off. 

This is what has happened in this country. Individuals no longer matter and the “good of the whole” has been swallowed by big business marketing and the country’s leaders protecting an elite few. “Good of the whole” is now just a term to benefit whoever or whatever group or business is saying it.

It’s up to us to keep our local flavor and protect our people by giving them recognition when they deserve it and by telling their stories. (And that’s impossible when an organization gets too big which happens with buy-outs and all that... but that’s another subject.) Most people living in the smaller towns do so to have that community-mindedness. We love to walk down the street and have neighbors and passersby wave. It’s great to know that should something happen, neighbors will step up to help. 

I love the opportunity to tell people’s stories and to give them recognition they deserve. Everyone has a story. Everyone has an interesting life. All the media-hype and sensationalism are not needed. Instead of focusing on all the negative going on in the world, how about we tell individual stories of the wonderful people who live around us?



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