Beacon publisher: Local, local, local

Oct 18, 2018

Here is the full text of comments from Paul Archipley, publisher of Beacon Publishing, that he made when receiving the Miles Turnbull Master Editor/Publisher award:

When a visitor to Macon, Georgia, came upon a wild dog attacking a young boy, he quickly grabbed the animal and throttled it with his two hands.

A reporter saw the incident, congratulated the man, and told him the headline the following day would read, "Valiant Macon man saves child by killing vicious animal."

The hero told the journalist that he wasn't from Macon.

"Well, then," the reporter said, "the headline will probably say, 'Georgia man saves child by killing dog'."

"Actually," the man said, "I'm from Connecticut."

"In that case," the reporter said in a huff, "the headline should read, 'Yankee murders family pet'."

Aside from the questionable objectivity, this story hits on the mantra that everyone in this room knows is our bread and butter: Local, local, local!

Whether you’re writing or editing the stories, shooting the photos, selling the ads, building the pages, delivering the papers or any number of other important tasks that make community newspapers run, you have the satisfaction of knowing you’re doing work that matters.

In this era when people in power are calling us the enemy, trying constantly to make our work harder, when repressive regimes in other parts of the world are even murdering our brothers and sisters in journalism, our work – whether it’s in a major metro zone or a tiny backwater village – is more important than ever.

When many are trying to close the doors on truth, we have to fight ever harder to keep them open.

I’m honored – and a little surprised – to receive this award. Journalism has been the focus of my professional career for nearly 50 years, and I’ve seen some men and women much more deserving and talented than I am receive this award.

I guess I’m living proof that if you hang around long enough, they’re bound to acknowledge you eventually.

I’d like to close by reading the last paragraph from the report my intern last summer wrote about his experience at the Beacon: His name is Ian Davis-Leonard.

He attends Gonzaga University, and he makes me optimistic that as my generation steps aside, talented, morally strong and idealistic young people will be stepping up.

Ian wrote:

“My summer with Beacon Publishing reminded me of the importance of journalism at its purest level, locally. It provided me with further evidence as to why I want to be a journalist, and further reinforcement to my drive and commitment toward the truth.

“Community newspapers may not always provide the earth-shattering material, but they do constantly play the role of watchdog, megaphone and expert within the community they cover.

“ This summer taught me about the incalculable value that a community newspaper provides to its readers and that no matter how large the circulation, your words still matter.”

I couldn’t have said it better.


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