Digitized newspaper archives are an engrossing record of history

By Layne Bruce

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Layne Bruce

This is probably a surprise to no one, but I’ve been a newspaper junkie since I was a kid. Even as a teen working at a my hometown paper, there was nothing I enjoyed quite like flipping through archived copies in the morgue.

My preference was to look through bound editions from the years after my birth (naturally) and read about and see pictures from important news stories that took place in our town.

As time marched on and I began to move to other communities and other newspapers, I’ve grown to enjoy looking through bound copies of papers for which I once worked. Rarely a visit to the Times Leader in West Point or The Star-Herald in Kosciusko would pass without me ending up with my nose in the archives.

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When a political Tweet crosses the line into defamation

By John C. Henegan Sr.

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John C. Henegan Sr.

United States Supreme Court Justice William Brennan traced the history of public debate about political affairs in our nation in 1964 in the landmark decision New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, concluding that public officials could recover for defamatory statements about their conduct in public office only if they could prove that the statements were false and that the speaker subjectively knew that they were false. In Sullivan, he famously wrote that in our country there is “a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open,” permitting “vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.” In the most recent presidential campaign and the first year of his term of office President Trump has vigorously exercised this principle in social media such as Twitter when responding to his critics.

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Rural vote was crucial in ’17 election

By Al Cross

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Al Cross

A year ago, Donald J. Trump surprised most of the world and probably himself by winning the presidential election. He couldn’t have done it without rural America.

The numbers in the exit polls were clear. Trump won 62 percent of the rural vote, more than any modern president. And here’s the statistic that shows just how rural his victory was: If you divide up the vote by the rural continuum of the Department of Agriculture – which has nine steps, from most rural to most urban – the smaller a place’s population, the stronger its vote for Trump, with one very small exception inside the error margin.

Trump’s percentage continued a recent trend of Republicans winning more and more of the rural vote. The biggest gain was actually made when Mitt Romney ran, but rural turnout was down significantly in 2012, especially among Democrats, so that boosted Romney’s percentage. But there was a better rural turnout in 2016 – and that was a key to Trump’s victory in the big swing states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

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Please, don’t deny the children

By Ray Mosby

“I’m not understanding really, what the big controversy is.”—Biloxi School District Supt. Arthur McMillan.

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Ray Mosby

ROLLING FORK — Well, let me educate a superintendent of education.

In 1960, a very nice, quintessentially Southern lady named Harper Lee published what I believe to be one of the finest novels ever written about anything, and the finest novel ever written about the early 20th Century South. After her editor nixed two other would be titles, they both settled upon “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

It is a masterpiece. I have read it more than 20 times.

It won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature.

Two years later, it was made into a movie starring Gregory Peck.

It won the Academy Award for “Best Motion Picture.” I have seen it more times than I can count.

Last week some knuckleheads within the administration of the Biloxi School District pulled it from the 8th grade curriculum.

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Plan to attend ArkLaMiss; Do your part to protect public notices in print

By Paul Keane

Keane, Paul
Paul Keane

WAYNESBORO — Fall is approaching (I promise, at least some time soon), which means thoughts for most newspapers start turning to holiday promotions and trying to finish the year strong.

While still in the throes of football season, though, there are plenty of opportunities for members to benefit from MPA programs being scheduled for the rest of the year and into 2018.

Up next on the calendar is the ArkLaMiss Circulation Conference in Vicksburg. Scheduled for Nov. 9-10 this year at the Ameristar Resort and Casino, the program is always beneficial to members. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard attendees say that one nugget gleamed from the conference helped pay for the entire event on their end.

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Court to public officials who would meet in private: Don’t

By Layne Bruce

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Layne Bruce

It was a long, rainy summer across much of the state.

But September brought with it cooler temperatures and lots of sunshine – both literally and metaphorically.

Just as we in Jackson started to enjoy one of the longest sustained periods of mild, sunny weather in months came news the State Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that the Columbus City Council violated the Mississippi Open Meetings Act.

It was a unanimous 9-0 vote, no less. Talk about a win for sunshine laws.

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Tour illustrates challenges in Delta even after 50 years

By David Hampton

Hampton, David
David Hampton

Given the facts and the right information, people will do the right thing.

I have often said this in speaking to students about the importance of good journalism — reporting that examines and analyzes and helps people reach logical and helpful solutions to the problems we all face. Yes, we differ, we debate, we filter things through our political leanings, but if we look at the facts and we keep our eyes on common goals, we can find solutions.

That’s a pretty basic belief that underlies our democracy. We believe most people will support what is best for the common good. Don’t we?

Continue reading “Tour illustrates challenges in Delta even after 50 years”