I need a favor.
Several things happened this week that have truly given me pause. They are all related to journalism, so if you are a hater, just stop reading.
The first was an off-hand comment from an acquaintance – she certainly isn’t a friend – who made the comment that it must be difficult for me to tell people that I am “retired from the newspaper business” because it has “become so despicable.”
I’m not sure what the look on my face said, but she hastened to say, “Oh, not you, of course. You got out just in time.”
There were so many things wrong with everything she said that I just gulped and moved on. I find myself doing a lot of that lately. I have always enjoyed a healthy debate with mutual civilities, but talking to brick walls isn’t something I am going to waste my time doing.
She is a brick wall. There is no searching for alternate opinions, facts or even someone else’s thoughts on most subjects. I didn’t scream until I got to my car.
Am I worried that she will read this column and be angry? Well, no. First, I don’t care if she does get angry. Second, she obviously thinks I am “retired from the newspaper business,” (even though I have told her, on occasion, that I write for a couple of magazines and KnoxTnToday).
The second thing that happened was oh-so-much-more pleasant. At church, a couple of people recognized my name (I’m new to this church) and told me how much they miss my columns. They weren’t sure if I was still writing because they stopped the daily paper before I did. I told them about Kitchen Table Talk and rattled off the website.
The third thing that happened is that I realized this is Kitchen Table Talk 202. I have now written 202 columns for KnoxTnToday since column number one at the end of June 2017. My first column was explaining the new name of my column and why my kitchen table is so special to our family. My second was written from our annual beach vacation in early July to Holden Beach, N.C.
I have been blessed to be able to write my thoughts, hopes and experiences every week. I am proud to be associated with Sandra Clark and the writers at KnoxTnToday. I am NOT ashamed to say I am a journalist. While I might be reluctant to be associated with some of today’s media outlets, I am proud-as-a-peacock to be a very small part of KnoxTNToday.
Sandra works very hard every day to bring community journalism to the people who need to see and read it. She will tell you that she “isn’t a journalist” and that KnoxTNToday “isn’t a newspaper.” It’s her vision, so I won’t argue with her, but I will tell you that Sandra and KnoxTNToday represent everything I consider good and true about community journalism. Opinion is marked as opinion. Gossip is marked as gossip. Columns are marked as columns and news is left to the reader to draw his/her own conclusions.
So, what’s the favor? Help KnoxTNToday.com. Share the stories, the columns, the sports – anything you enjoy – with everyone. Encourage your friends to read it every day. Sandra has made it as painless as possible, so share with all your friends and family just how easy it is. There is no long form to fill out to get to the content. There is ZERO charge for reading any and everything on KnoxTNToday.com. There is NO bombarding your email with trash if you sign up for news alerts. I can count on one hand how many weeks in a year I get more than one email a day from KnoxTNToday.
Thank the advertisers who keep the lights on. Seriously, click on their ads, send them an email, tell them how much you appreciate the fact that they believe in community journalism and hope they will always support KnoxTNToday.com.
In this time of unrest and heavy hearts for so many, KnoxTNToday is a civil, no-nonsense look at our communities – the good, the bad and the in-between. Help make it the first thing your friends and neighbors read in the mornings.
And we can all gather around the Kitchen Table and keep on talking.
Sherri Gardner Howell has been writing about family life for newspapers and magazines since 1987. She lives in West Knoxville, is married to Neville Howell and has two sons and three grandsons. Her newest adventure is as a travel agent with her own company, SGH Go Travel. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.