I'm going to brag.
Last week we ran an editorial. Now that in itself isn't news, we run an editorial every week, left column, page 4A. (This week it's about 911 funding.) And let me explain a little more: The editorial (see how I used “we” just now?) is of the paper (“us”). Which is to say you're reading this column, this is what's on Alex's mind (“me”). The editorial, instead, is what is on the paper's mind. See? So the column is some guy, the editorial is the newspaper.
So yeah, did an editorial titled “Friends like these.” You can find it online as an editorial dated Aug. 18. It was on press freedom, but more to the point it was how the people who do the press things, journalists, people like me, are not an “enemy of the people,” despite what some would express. (And I'm not going to rehash the editorial here. That's like repeating a punchline, and more to the point if you think I'm the enemy you've likely stopped reading by now anyway. No sense preaching to the choir.)
The editorial was part of a larger effort. We got an Email about a week earlier that the Boston Globe - a big ol' newspaper where lots of people work and lots of ink gets spilled - wanted to put together a national thing on Aug. 16 about the importance of a free press and how we're not an enemy of the people.
That sounded good, so I signed on for it. The Van Buren County Democrat was going to participate in this initiative. I didn't hear back. Why should I? The Boston Globe moves more papers in an hour than we do in a week and, you know, Little Drummer Boy, we were just doing our part, good of the cause and all that.
Then I get an Email from the New York Times wanting a link back to the editorial. Well! The New York Times! I mean, that's big time newspaper there, something of a gold standard in the biz. Again, big ol' behemoth with reporters all over the world, supertankers of ink every week, and they were reaching out to the Van Buren County Democrat, wanted to link to our newspaper.
You know, that paper down on the square, next to where the library used to be, that place where Alex works.
So sure, sent them a link. They did an online thing about what other newspapers printed on press freedom and linked back to us. That was, I'll be honest, pretty cool. You work away here, doing what you can for the county, and a national newspaper recognizes your effort. It was a good day.
So I go on about my business. Professional recognition is nice, but, as the saying goes, “This week's newspaper is next week's fish wrap.” Got to keep moving.
The next day I get a note from a friend. CNN (yes, that CNN) had cited our editorial as “One of 16 must-read editorials on press freedom.” Even better, in the story it posted under that headline, the Van Buren County Democrat's editorial was the first one of the 16 posted.
“Must read,” CNN, Van Buren County Democrat - a weekly newspaper in the Ozark Foothills.
I know, right?
Now, if I may, I'm going to brag about myself some more.
(I use “If I may” a lot in conversation, it's just a habit I have. It always strikes me, however, that whenever someone says “If I may” the next thing they do is what they said they were going to do, like “If I may” is “Coming through” for polite people.)
See, this was kind of a big deal, an editorial from a weekly rural-county newspaper getting national recognition. As I discussed it, some suggest we should do a story on it, something about how a editorial in this newspaper was cited nationally. We could put a story on our front page, how little ol' us got some national street cred.
But no. Better to just talk about it in the weekly column the editor puts out, the one where he talks about what's on his mind. There's a time to brag, and there's a time to write news.
But still, last week was exceptional. Thanks; if it wasn't for your support it wouldn't have happened.