Community journalism at work

Today was a day of affirmation for me, given a chance meeting I had with a gentleman I encountered while shooting pictures for a weekly newspaper for which I work part time in Collin County, Texas.

I was taking some photos of a Habitat for Humanity house that is nearly complete in Princeton. I introduced myself as a representative of the Princeton Herald and told the project managers I had written a story on this particular site about a year ago.

The gentleman to whom I referred earlier heard me say it and he then told me something that thrills me to no end. “I read your earlier story and it motivated me to get involved with Habitat for Humanity,” he said.

My reaction in the moment was muted. I thanked him for getting involved, but it didn’t really register to me what his underlying message was when he offered that statement.

It was that community journalism, the kind of craft I am practicing now as a semi-retired journalist, presents these kinds of triumphs all the time. People occasionally are inspired to get involved, to pay back to their communities, based on what they read in the local newspaper. How cool is that?

The name of the gentleman isn’t important. What he said to me is what counts.

I am heartened that the work we do in reporting on our communities can have this kind of impact.