Community journalism is where it’s at, man.
How do I know that? Because I am involved in it at its most basic level. You see, I once was a retired journalist. Not at the moment. I remain in what I prefer to call “semi-retired” mode.
But my task these days is to report on city council matters, on school board matters and to write occasional features in a lovely North Texas community just a few miles east of where I live with my wife and Toby the Puppy.
Farmersville is home to about 5,000 individuals. It’s a growing community with plenty of issues relating to rapid growth. Streets need repairing. The city is embarking on a new fiber-powered Internet system. It has battled in recent years with a wastewater treatment plant. It is trying to find an individual to manage its Main Street program.
The community relies on the newspaper for which I write on a freelance basis. The Farmersville Times publishes once each week. It contains stories from yours truly and others who write for the group that owns the Times, C&S Media, based out of nearby Wylie.
I want to toot the horn of community journalism because it continues to thrive even though what the conservative talking heads refer to as “mainstream media” continue to struggle.
They struggle because of a perception – and I believe it is misplaced – that major media outlets no longer just “report the news.” They lace their reporting, the critics assert, with their own bias. I believe the bias lies in the minds of the consumer, not the messenger … but that’s another issue for another day.
I just want to declare that the joy has returned to the calling I received many decades ago to become a reporter. I so very much enjoy covering these city council, school board and feature-article issues because they deal with matters that affect citizens most directly.
It is my job – which I perform on a freelance basis – to report to the community about the decisions their elected representatives make on their behalf.
When I started this gig a couple of years ago, I came out of retirement from a career in which I was an advocate for opinion pages of two medium-sized Texas newspapers: one was in Amarillo, and one was in Beaumont. However, like virtually all print journalists, I got my start covering city councils and school boards and writing feature articles.
I learned something about myself when I started this new job: I didn’t forget what I had learned all those years ago.
I am having a lot of fun.