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Columns

  • Brunswick County news patterns don’t mirror trends elsewhere

    There’s an old saying in journalism when it comes to how and where stories are reported: “If it bleeds, it leads.” What that means is, the juicier, gorier or more salacious news is, the more likely it is to be the top story.

    In my two decades or so in this business, circulation numbers seem to bear out that tired adage. For all the lamenting over a lack of good, positive news, it’s generally the bad news that sells best.

  • Don’t mistake journalism for PR

    The author George Orwell is credited with saying, “Journalism is printing what someone else doesn’t want printed. Everything else is public relations.”

    I’d like to take that definition a step further by saying journalism is printing what someone else doesn’t like — especially when it comes to reporting on government meetings.

    These stories always boil down to the same thing: Providing accounts of what was said and done, and by whom. That’s the sole purpose of meeting coverage.

  • Valentine’s Day romantic tactics revealed

    Saint Valentine stuck his neck out for love and was beheaded for it, according to one legend. Pursuit of romance on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, can lead to trouble and hard feelings. For that reason, some people retreat from participation rather than risk what goodwill remains with their significant others.

    At the age of 75, I’ve successfully given and received Valentines for more than six decades with great satisfaction. Here are my romantic tactics:

     

    Significant others

  • Too much of a good thing is sometimes a challenge

    It would seem inappropriate for me to beg for patience when I have so little of it, but I’m about to do it anyway.

    A few months ago, we recreated a community news policy to let readers know about our deadlines for items like club news, honor rolls, wedding announcements, business and education briefs, and church bulletin notes. The policy has been printed on page 2A of every edition since.

    In case you’ve missed it, I’ll save you the trouble of flipping pages and give it to you here:

  • In the season of discontent, strive to stay sweet

    The man on the telephone had clearly not rung me up to transmit a valentine.

    Interrupting my typing and toiling at the keyboard on the usual deadlines, he delivered, instead, a verbal barrage.

    He also provided unsolicited instructions on how I was to write a story from the previous night’s town council meeting (which was on the day’s to-do list, for sure).

    He certainly hoped I planned to include details on how the town’s former mayor had gotten out of line at that meeting.

  • Only fools drive unnecessarily on icy roads

    Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: If a life or job didn’t depend on you driving down the county’s icy roads last week, you had no business driving.

    You wanted to see the snow on the beach? Too bad. Wait for your island neighbors to share the photos with you via the Beacon, Facebook, Instragram or the old-fashioned way: with glossy prints.

    You ran out of that ingredient you needed to complete your CrockPot recipe? Tough. Make something else for dinner.

  • Ethical violations are unforgiveable sins in journalism

    Last week, the Associated Press decided to end its working relationship with a Pulitzer Prize-winning freelance photographer for altering a photo he submitted to the news organization for publication.

    Let me explain why what he did matters and why what the AP did is so important.

  • Sunset Beach marks 150th anniversary of buried blockade runner

    One hundred and fifty years ago, a Confederate blockade runner laden with supplies and more ran aground off the coast of Bald Beach, aka the future Sunset Beach island, in the early hours of Monday, Jan. 11, 1864.

    The vessel, named the Vesta, was set on fire in 10 feet of water. It was abandoned at the beach, a casualty as it had tried in vain to flee a Yankee blockade guarding the Cape Fear River and head in a more southerly direction toward the Winyah Bay in Georgetown, S.C.

  • County board still meets twice a month

    I recently read a story about some of the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball players who had a little get together on one of their days off.

    Somebody in the group got on social media to let their followers know the teammates were hanging out together.

    Except the whole team wasn’t there. Kendrick Perkins hadn’t been invited but saw the update and from there the story took a sad turn with Perkins bemoaning being left out of the fun.

    Based on this story, I have some bad news for you Brunswick County.

  • Sometimes words are louder than actions

    Even if you don’t follow football, or even sports in general, you may have heard about the brouhaha a Seattle Seahawks player caused with his post-game comments last Sunday night.

    If you don’t follow football, or sports in general, let me briefly bring you up to speed: The Seahawks defeated the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night to face the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl. The game essentially ended after a Seahawks player named Richard Sherman caused an interception while covering a pass to the Niners’ Michael Crabtree.