Newspapers can learn from fate closing in on retail giants

By Layne Bruce

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Layne Bruce

Retail disruption is the preoccupation du jour for financial analysts, business reporters and a large slice of the public at large that suddenly finds itself increasingly relying on Alexa to handle shopping for paper towels and underwear.

Kmart’s been struggling for a long time now. Stock prices for Kroger took a beating last week on news Amazon was buying Whole Foods. But perhaps no giant of retail better exemplifies the struggles of adaption than Sears.

From its beginnings in the 19th Century, Sears Roebuck and Co. was a precursor of sorts to e-commerce. Its massive catalogs were the stuff of which dreams were made – from the latest in fashion, to a desperately needed set of tires, to all those Star Wars action figures that were at the top of so many Christmas lists.

At one point in its history, Sears even sold prefabricated houses. Order the one you wanted, and a team soon arrived on your property to set up shop – I mean house.

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New law on liquor ads takes effect July 1

By John C. Henegan Sr.

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John Henegan

In the exercise of its powers under the Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution, the State Legislature recently amended the state law regulating liquor advertising and signage, Miss. Code § 67-1-85 (2016).

Under the current law it is unlawful for a newspaper in a “dry” municipality, county, or judicial district to publish liquor advertising even if the advertising only appears in papers only distributed in a “wet” municipality, county, or judicial district.

The title to S.B. No. 2345 sums up the change:  The new law “DELETE[S] THE PROVISION THAT MAKES IT UNLAWFUL FOR ANY ADVERTISEMENT OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES TO ORIGINATE IN ANY MUNICIPALITY, COUNTY OR JUDICIAL DISTRICT WHICH HAS NOT VOTED TO LEGALIZE THE SALE OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES . . . .”

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Secrecy abounds in selection process of university leaders

By Jimmie Gates
The Clarion-Ledger

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Jimmie Gates

I have a keen interest in who becomes the next president of Jackson State University.

I’m an alumni of JSU and believe historic black colleges and universities serve a vital role in higher education.

The next president selected will be JSU’s 11th permanent president.

I can’t tell the state College Board who to select, but I know that we need stable, good leadership at the flagship historic black college in Mississippi.

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Dallas Morning News editor will give convention keynote

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Mike Wilson

The editor of The Dallas Morning News will give the keynote address at the Joint Convention of the Mississippi and Louisiana press associations July 6 in Biloxi.

Mike Wilson, who joined the paper in February 2015, will speak during the opening luncheon. He’ll discuss the paper’s efforts at innovation, as well as his response to claims the media has become an “enemy” of the public interest.

Wilson began his career at the Miami Herald, where he worked for 12 years as a writer and editor. He joined the St. Petersburg Times in 1994, serving for 18 years as a writer, editor and, finally, managing editor. The newspaper won two Pulitzers during his tenure.

In 2013 he moved to ESPN in New York to become the founding managing editor of Nate Silver’s data journalism website, FiveThirtyEight.

Wilson graduated from Tufts University in 1983 with degrees in English literature and drama. He has written two books, “Right on the Edge of Crazy” (1993), about the U.S. downhill ski team, and “The Difference Between God and Larry Ellison” (1997), about the founder of Oracle Corporation.

He and his wife, Alisa Jenkins Wilson, live in Dallas and have three children: Dyami and twins Lena and Kirby.

For more information on the Joint Convention agenda or to register, visit the event webpage. 

Halberstam’s memory of Mississippi persevered

This column was originally written April 24, 2007.

By Layne Bruce

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Layne Bruce

We are what we remember. More to the point, the memories we collect through our lifetimes are really what define us as individuals.

David Halberstam knew this.

When he was interviewed by correspondent Russ Mitchell for the CBS News program “Sunday Morning” in January, Halberstam, the Pulitzer-prize winning author and journalist, reminisced about the early days of his career. He was joined in the exercise by friends and fellow writers Gay Talese and A.E. Hotchner at one of the trio’s favorite restaurants in New York City.

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Concerns rise that ‘big media’ problems affect local media too

By Al Cross

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Al Cross

Trust in “the mass media, such as newspapers, TV and radio” in polls taken by the Gallup Organization was at 32 percent last year, the lowest ever – and was significantly lower than the 40 percent recorded in 2015. Rural newspapers have often presumed that such trends don’t affect them, because they’re in closer touch with smaller communities, where readers know the people at the paper. That is not as safe an assumption as it once was, based on some events, trends and issues we’ve reported lately in The Rural Blog.

For example, a Feb. 5-6 Emerson College poll of registered voters, weighted to reflect turnout in the 2016 election, found them evenly divided about the Trump administration’s truthfulness, but by 53 to 39 percent, they considered the news media untruthful.

The Pew Research Center found in early 2016 that there was little difference in the trust of local and national news outlets. About 22 percent of Americans said they trust local news outlets a lot, and 18 percent said that of national news sources. Recently, rural and community journalists have voiced concern that the attacks on “big media” are hurting “little media,” too.

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Requiem for a Ranger

“A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than he does himself.” — Josh Billings

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Ray Mosby

ROLLING FORK — I was going through some old papers last weekend when I came across something that figuratively knocked the wind out of me. Almost exactly 11 years ago this week, I lost a dear friend and memories of him flooded across my mind like a ship’s deck awash in an intemperate sea.

There’s a picture on my wall of my grandson when he was 10 or so, sitting on my deck, and behind him in the chair, head resting on his shoulder, is the great big, beautiful, stupid old Golden Retriever that dwarfed him both in that photo and in real life.

I felt anew the not properly describable ache that we humans associate with loss and the sometimes stereo system of my mind chose to play perhaps the best lyric from “Mr. Bojangles” that was appropriately perfect: “…his dog up and died. Yeah, up and died. After 20 years he still grieves.”

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