A New Journey in Writing Begins
September 14, 2003
It was a brilliant and sunny morning in July when two visiting nearby out-of-towners stopped by the office of the Managing Editor of a Western New York city daily newspaper. Immediately, it was apparent to these two visitors that newspaper operations are active, demanding, and timeline driven. Without question, this is a busy place and these are very busy people.
It was quite evident to the newspaper staff, that the two visitors were obviously some years apart in chronological age but equal in determination, drive and purpose. After several minutes, the two gentlemen were ushered into the office of the Editor. The genial and well-respected managing editor warmly greeted his two visitors and an engaging and moving conversation began to flow without hesitation. The only halting in the conversation was when the editor received several "timeline driven" telephone calls. The hour, in the busy editorial office, went by quickly.
The visitors and the editor extolled the virtues of an open and free press in which news stories are reported objectively and without bias. But further, it was discussed that a newspaper has an obligation to provide ample opportunity for opinion and the free exchange of ideas. This exchange of ideas and opinions, they agreed, are an essential part of an open and free press and are an essential part of the fabric of a vibrant and dynamic society. An overarching concept was embraced by the three that "darkness cannot extinguish light."
The visitors then went on to propose an occasional column in the newspaper where these two columnists, from "Small Town America" would discuss their common and differing views on timely subjects. The array of subject matter would vary from local and community affairs to national and international affairs; from teenage and senior citizen issues to the economic scene and educational matters; from family values to rural, suburban and urban concerns. Ah yes, there was no end to the possibility thinking on challenging subjects which came forth in the course of the discussion. As the visitors saw it, it would be their task, as a team of two, to share with the readers a snapshot slice of society from their perspective.
The little more then an hour dialogues went by all too quickly. The hands on the ticking office wall clock suggested that it was time to leave and there was work to be done. Supportive and energetic newspaper Editor John extended his firm hand of friendship to each of his visitors with the closing comment "it was so good to see you again Bob and it was great to finally meet you Andy, I have heard much about you." And then the shocker as the editor went on to say, "I look forward to reading your column starting in September." With that kind of encouraging sendoff, the two motivated local columnists left to return to their hometown of Gowanda; one to start sharpening his pencils and pull out his familiar yellow pad and the other to boot up his laptop and activate his printer. Yep, it was a good morning and much was accomplished. Of course, that is FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE.