Fact checking resources for newspapers of any size

By AL CROSS
Institute for Rural Journalism
University of Kentucky

Cross_AlAt many community newspapers, treatment of the presidential election may be limited to online polls of your readers’ opinions, or their letters. But this is a race for president like no other, where facts and issues have taken a far back seat to entertainment, personality and character assassination, and it’s unlikely to get better now that we have the two most unpopular nominees in the history of polling.

Why should smaller newspapers devote more space to the race? If dailies rely on the Associated Press, the coverage won’t be localized. If weeklies just stick to local news, they will ignore a major topic of discussion among their readers, many of whom don’t read a daily. Covering the race can help you build and maintain a brand as the most authoritative local source of news and information.

As the primary campaigns ended, many journalists acknowledged that they had done a poor job of holding the nominees and other candidates accountable for their statements, and vowed to do better. But at last month’s conventions, timely fact-checking was rare. All of us in American journalism need to share the load.

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Good eggs like Joel don’t come in a dozen

By LAYNE BRUCE
Executive Director

Bruce, LayneWhat I remember most about that night is hitting the mailbox. Oh, and the guy sitting next to me getting carsick from the volatility of my admittedly awful driving.

It was the middle of the evening in the middle of nowhere in Barren County, Ky.

Joel and I had been on the road for several hours trying to deliver that day’s paper. Due to a somewhat historic drought of carriers in the circulation department at the time, he and I had been drafted to get a couple of the afternoon newspaper’s daily routes delivered. It took two of us because I wasn’t even from Barren County and had no idea where I was going.

Joel, however, knew Barren County like the back of his hand.
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Mrs. Denley learned to love journalism at The Calhoun County Journal

By LANA FERGUSON
The Calhoun County Journal

BRUCE — The Calhoun County Journal has been a family affair for more than half a century now. Bruce’s Jo Ann Denley has been around for a majority of it.

jo-ann-denley
Jo Ann Denley

Denley’s late husband Gale established the Journal in 1953 with his parents Sellers and Maggie Ellen Denley.

Gale and Jo Ann married in 1955 and moved to Bruce in 1962.

jo ann denleyShe had always been in and out of The Journal subconsciously learning how the newsroom operated, photos were developed, and the newspaper was put together. Sometimes, as a former English teacher, she would even be called in as a “set of fresh eyes” to help copy read articles.

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A great guy or what?

“‘Cause he’s oh, so good
And he’s oh, so fine
And he’s oh, so healthy
In his body and his mind.
He’s a well respected man about town
Doing the best things so conservatively.”—Ray Davies

By Ray Mosby

WebColumn_MosbyROLLING FORK — Mississippi’s Republican super-majority government—you know, the neat group of men and women currently occupying almost all the most powerful legislative and administrative offices and whose collective volume of the milk of human kindness can be measured on the same gauge as is desert rainfall—has itself a new poster boy.

Meet one state Rep. Jeffrey S. Guice. He lives in Ocean Springs where he sells real estate (but only to the right (wink!) kind of people, of course) and he represents the good folks of Jackson and Harrison counties who reside within the lines of House District 114 in the Miss. Legislature.

And last week, Rep. Guice made the kind of news that nobody holding any sort of elective office likes to make—the kind that revealed himself to be that special variety of complete and utter jackass that he apparently is.
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Conventions are a family tradition

By Wyatt Emmerich

12829497_10207518814919972_6613157018262825034_oBILOXI — The Mississippi Press Association celebrated its 150th anniversary last week at the Golden Nugget casino in Biloxi.

After the Mississippi Bar Association and the Mississippi State Medical Association, it is the oldest state professional association.

Unlike the legal and medical professions, the newspaper industry is actually a manufacturing enterprise. It makes an actual product that comes off a printing press. That makes the longevity of newspapers even more impressive. No other manufactured product has had such staying power.

As president of Emmerich Newspapers, I oversee 26 community newspapers, primarily in Mississippi. Most of these newspapers are well over 100 years old.

As someone who daily drives two old cars, a 51-year-old Mustang and a 31-year-old Alfa Romeo, pilots a 37-year-old airplane and sails a 30-year-old boat, I suppose the newspaper industry is a good fit for me.
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Convention trip stirs memories

CU-Lf9bJBy Bill Jacobs

It was a long and very hot drive in those days. My parents would pack us up early and we would arrive what seemed like days later. Packed like sardines in the back seat – me in the middle and my two brothers perched at the open windows on either side. Our Rambler station wagon did not have air-conditioning and the two-lane roads that wound through every town along the way meant lots of stop and go traffic.

But it was Mississippi Press Convention week and worth every bit of the abuse little brothers receive from older ones on long hot boring rides.

It was that left hand turn on to US 90 off Highway 49 that the excitement began – the smell of the Gulf Coast, passing by the Friendship House restaurant, the Edgewater Hotel and those whirly-gig kites that vendors hawked all along the beach at each traffic light.

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Changing of the guard comes with the territory

By Layne Bruce
Executive Director

Bruce, LayneIn the latest edition of MPA’s newsletter, Fourth Estate, is a column by MPA President Joel McNeece describing some of the lasting relationships his association with this Association has afforded him.

I can relate.

Joel and I first met at a Mid-Winter Conference nearly 20 years ago after he’d gone to work for Wyatt Emmerich at The Winona Times. Joel and I shared a connection through Tim James, the publisher in Winona at the time who had also once employed me in Eupora at the Webster Progress-Times.

I learned sitting across the table from him that night at the conference that Joel’s a man of measured words and temperament. I typically run somewhat counter to that, often at my own peril. I often keep talking long after I should have shut up. In fact, first encounters between me and anyone who’s parsimonious with speech usually ends with me having talked way too long and soaked in my own flop sweat.

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