Pensacola, Florida
Saturday May 26th 2018


Outtakes 5/10/12

WHY WE EXIST Newspapers are about people. Our primary obligation is to reach you and tell your story and the stories of those who work, live and serve in your community.  We provoke thought, connect the dots and, at times, question those who don’t necessarily want to be questioned.

We are watchdogs, politic pundits and prognosticators of the latest trends in arts and entertainment. We want you to ponder the possibilities for this community we love. We want to make you angry enough to care about making those possibilities a reality, but also we want you to join us in thanking those who move this place forward.

I grew up in Greenville, Miss.—a place known for two things, cotton and its daily newspaper. The “Delta Democratic Times” and its publisher and editor Hodding Carter, II, won awards for fearless coverage of segregation in the years after World War II. He endured threats, boycotts and even fistfights to tell the truth, and he became the leader of journalism in the “New South.”

Greenville was Carter’s adopted town. He came from Hammond, La. and admitted it took awhile for him to challenge the Jim Crow laws and racism of his childhood. However, once he crossed that threshold, “Big Hodding” never stepped back.

While I may aspire to be like him, it’s laughable for me to think I could ever reach Carter’s impact. We are a small weekly newspaper, but we are passionate about this place—sometimes too passionate, according to our critics. We dare to think big. We challenged BP during the oil spill and refused to take any ads from the oil giant, which brought criticism from other newspapers.

Our slate of stories that we believe need to be told and the issues that we know should be investigated is much larger than our staff and the pages that our advertising revenues can afford, but we keep going back to our mission—how do we make this place better for all of us. We return to the basic premise that newspapers are about people.  We owe it to you to try beyond our limitations to have a positive impact.

When I was a child, Hodding Carter had retired and his son “Little Hodding” had taken over the role as executive editor. Once the retired publisher was in line for communion at our church, my dad whispered in my ear, “Son, remember that man. He’s famous. He made this place better for all of us.”

I have.