It’s Ethan here, your local political commentator/picture-taker/social agitator. Your friendly neighborhood news editor, shame creator, and media-martyr of the week.
Speaking to you this time, without a single drop of news, but only a tidal wave of apologies.
Skimming through Facebook’s open forum merely hours ago, i discovered a post referencing a page in this week’s paper, which consisted of a photo that was considered distasteful, wrong, and “inappropriate for a newspaper”.
I know, you’re itching with excitement. Here’s a link to the issue; flip to page 10: DO NOT CLICK until the kids are safe and sound with your gun collection and satellite TV!!!
To make things worse, this photo was unintentionally placed right next to a McGraw Webb Chevrolet advertisement.
The photo of most concern was of two young men, standing knee deep in a riverbed, smiling, having fun, soaking up the sun, and celebrating freedom like it was the 4th of July. Which it was…
Oh, and one of the men was biting the other one’s nipple…
I think that was the offensive part, and i understand it…to an extent.
Before I go any further to explain what purpose this newspaper is trying to serve, I must first announce that: NO, THOSE PHOTOS HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH MCGRAW WEBB’S AD.
It was a photo that i took personally, and had permission from all those involved to print it. I made an executive decision, (since my publisher is currently undergoing carcinoma surgery) and i failed to consider how some may interpret it.
Although we do have the legal rights, as press, to publish things of that nature, i can definitely understand some people’s viewpoint. Your concerns have been noted, and i will practice more discretion in the future. My only explanation, should one be accepted, is that Im simply trying to put together a newspaper as best I can whilst my grandmother is sick, and without having my creativity castrated by the public. I’ve not yet become acclimated with what offends Camden and what doesn’t. To me the photo seemed harmless, but it takes an ordeal such as this to learn how to cater to your audience…
Now, let’s talk about the NEWS industry shall we? First thing everyone should know is, running a county newspaper is more than a business venture, it’s a public service venture. It is our duty (and our right) to cover as many topics, viewpoints, age groups, races, and controversies as we can. And we must do it without discrimination.
How informative would it be for us to air out dirty laundry on a local restaurant just because a waitress dumped my cousin? Or how fair would it be to endorse a political candidate with advertisements “free-of-charge” just because they’re my next-door neighbor? If I only cover African American arrests, is that an accurate portrayal of Camden? If I only publish pictures of young, white adults in Sunday School, is that inclusive of all the ones who are praying at home? Or mourning the death of a family member from underneath a double-wide crawlspace?
How should I censor all the murders? the rapes? the drug arrests?
And why is nipple biting such a hot-button topic right now? I thought we were all focused on Hillary! C’mon guys! It ain’t me, man!
I’m actually glad this issue has surfaced, because it only further confirms the unfortunate truth I’ve been digesting since I moved here: Camden’s youth has been disenfranchised.
Your 18-25 year old creatures are NOT being accurately represented; they have no voice.
Apart from some grainy, third-party sports photos we have sent to us, it’s almost as if Camden is completely void of young people…
unless they’re athletes…
I understand and respect the perspectives of those who were offended by the picture, but I have to ask….What exactly do you want from your newspaper? Do you want a gilded fabrication of what we are? Do you want me to change the word “Wilcox” to “Mayberry”? Should I just not explore the multiple dimensions and diverse demographics of this county with something as simple as a photograph of 2 adults, who were of age, enjoying themselves, harming no one, HAVING FUN IN CAMDEN, ALABAMA?
Here’s a link to the post that was published on Facebook to crucify my livelihood. You’ll notice many people trying to tell me how to run my business…https://www.facebook.com//posts/10206769525583523
Back so soon? Yea, that’s because the original post was deleted by it’s creator. Followed by a lengthy, sincere apology for causing so much drama.
That apology was unnecessary, of course. As I explained to the poster, “those criticisms are my lifeblood.” I asked her with sincerity to re-publish the thread, as it was full of dozens of yummy comments to dismantle.
One sassy lass even tortured me through a history lesson about “her newspaper family.” She told me that her grandparent’s newspaper (good people) decided to portray a “wholesome image” of their community every week. She even had the nerve to ask “how would your grandparents feel about what you’ve done?” And that’s when I knew…this argument was going to be a cakewalk.
I told the little scoundrel that we at the Progressive Era try to portray an “accurate image” of our community. Otherwise, we’d just be a tabloid recycling family portraits from a Sears catalog. And as far as my grandparents? Well, the legendary Hollis Curl would’ve been a lot less filtered with his language than I’m being right now. And my grandmother? Well, she’d already warned me about the overly-sensitive. She knew the public would “give me hell” for that picture, but I got the greenlight to publish it nonetheless, right before she jumped in the car and drove to Birmingham to be told by doctors how and when she was going to die…
It was left up to me…
So am I allowed to be offended? Is that okay with you?
Most of the complaints were plucked straight from the strawman: “what if teens or kids see this???”
NEWS FLASH: your kids aren’t reading my newspaper (part of the problem) and do you know why?
Because they’re far too consumed with Miley Cyrus shaking her butt on stage, ISIS blowing people’s heads off, and Kardashians promoting idolization, vanity, and greed. It’s all at the tips of their fingers, on that tiny screen in their pocket. It’s their little window…their window into the world, into reality.
Newspapers? Psh…they’re nothing but urine pads for your pets and firestarters for your grill.
And if you live in Wilcox County, you should know by now that some fires are unintentional…