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The finest in citizen journalism

It’s an inspiration. Get local coverage, extensive local coverage, for your publication by enlisting local citizens to write for you! Without pay!

I actually have some experience with citizen journalism. Forty years ago, during the summers in high school that I worked for the Gazette in Flemingsburg, Ky., as reporter, columnist, copy editor, proofreader, circulation clerk, Addressograph operator, receptionist and dogsbody*, it fell to me to edit the country correspondence.

The country correspondence was a compilation of social notes and innocuous gossip compiled by a corps of ladies from the various communities in the county. The social notes, often devoted largely to the comings and goings of the correspondents themselves and their relations, arrived in the mail, handwritten on copy paper. And I edited them. Editing is a euphemism. I Englished them.

One of the country correspondents, whom we kept in our pages only briefly before she was drawn into the gravitational pull of the daily paper in the next county, was Mrs. Alma Price. She was a peach. Mrs. Price had a style at once so distinctive and so entertaining that any decent regard for the reader required that her texts be allowed to run verbatim, without interference by an editor.

To give you a taste of the joys that citizen journalism can present, I offer a sampling of Mrs. Price’s work, as published. I have the clippings.

It remains to explain that the community from which Mrs. Price wrote was, in one of those little coincidences that the cosmos loves, called Slipup. Herewith, some of the Slipup News. Enjoy.

Mrs. Hazel Dillon always thinking of others, has given a new clock to the Bethel Church. Our “thanks” goes out to her as we have really been missing the old clock, as a electrical storm had gotten rid of our old one last fall.

Donald Lee Lennix, Jr., a former resident of Maysville and visiting Maysville again. He first came back on May 18 and had a reunion for him.

Mrs. Nancy Gifford has had a busy week making the ladies beautiful for Easter. Mrs. Dale Cracraft is her assistant. Has started giving manicures and pedicures. Those are your toenails. Her shop located on Johnson Lane has a booming business.

Miss Lena Cooper of Clark Street and her husband Emmitt Asdon and wife visited her daughter, Mrs. Gladys Hill and husband of Covington last weekend and Mrs. Emma Mae Cooper visited her daughter Ruth Ann Bradford.

On March 2 Mr. and Mrs. Jim Pfeffer had their birthdays, our mailman and his wife.

Mr. John M. Stanton of Sardis went to Florida in February for 10 days. He was accomplised by Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Turner who lives on his place. On his return he visits Mr. and Mrs. W.T. Hill with his goodies such as tomatoes, oranges, strawberries and grape fruit. He gave them these things. The Hill’s were just getting over the flu. They visited many places of interest. Also visit Mr. Harry Myers who is ill and his wife.

*Dogsbody, British slang for menial worker or drudge.

 

 

Posted by John McIntyre at 3:40 PM | | Comments (5)
        

Comments

haha, this one is brilliant:

On March 2 Mr. and Mrs. Jim Pfeffer had their birthdays, our mailman and his wife.

Every now and again I'll pick up the local paper in the town I went to high school in (and still live near), and it's a good read to pick out some of the gems from the local writers. These would certainly parallel some of that writing.

My grandmother was a stringer for the daily paper in our hometown. If she ran short of material about her burg, she would mention if our family (each member named) had visited for dinner that Sunday. This delighted my worldly ninth-grade history teacher, who read every word of the Daily Sentinel after scouring The New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

A decade later I found myself "Englishing" such correspondence at my first daily. I was not delighted.

We had a similar column of news from a little collection of homes called Gardiner when I worked for the Port Townsend/Jefferson County Leader.
One of my favorite entries from the dear woman who wrote the column told of how visiting children would"throw rocks and fish in the lake."
We rarely "Englished" her prose.

When my sister was in college, her friends didn't believe she could get their names in the paper. They visited one weekend, and the next week the Richmondville (N.Y.) Phoenix dutifully reported the names and news about her visitors.
Of course, someone in the family was dispatched to the Phoenix office to provide the information. The visitors must have enjoyed Richmondville, because as I recall, "a good time was had by all."

As someone who grew up in Clark County and worked in Maysville, I enjoy your tales of old Kentuck.

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at john.mcintyre@baltsun.com.
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