I agree with the views expressed in Editor Kevin Spradlin’s column that it takes teamwork and a lot of helping hands — not just from the editor, reporters and public officials — to put local news into community newspapers.
People make a lot of assumptions when something is happening. There is a tendency for people to assume that someone else must have let the paper’s staff know. In reality, the press is sometimes the last to know, especially with breaking news. I say this as someone who spent most of his adult life in the newspaper business — in North Carolina, Florida, New Hampshire and Oregon.
So it’s always wise to give the paper a heads-up. If someone there already knows about what is happening or has occurred, that’s great. The situation should be under control. You’ll probably be reading about it in the next day or so. But oftentimes, it will be that one telephone call, message or email with specifics that really gets the wheels of news coverage going, and individuals can take pride in that.
If you saw emergency vehicles hurrying by with lights flashing and sirens blaring, what department or rescue squad vehicles did you see? That bit of specific information can give a reporter a starting point on which department to call to find out who responded, what happened, etc. Also please, if you can, give them a time and location and be as specific as possible.
Sometimes this will enable the paper to dispatch someone for on-the-scene coverage, better than just gathering all the information after the fire is extinguished or the crash wreckage is cleared from the road.
If you want to help ensure news in Richmond County is covered, please do your part as a citizen and reader. Get involved and lend a hand. Your help will be appreciated. And the community and its newspaper will be better off as a result.
Thank you for helping.
The writer, a current resident of Foley, Ala., is a Richmond County native and was a columnist for The Richmond County Daily Journal and The Hamlet News many years ago. He also edited and reported for newspapers in Moore County that were former sister publications of the Daily Journal before moving to Florida, New Hampshire, Oregon and Alabama