Friday, January 02, 2009

A Changing Era

Anonymous said...

Different subject, but has anybody seen a worse paper than the DDT. Everything is straight off the associated press, or editorials and articles from McComb, Greenwood, or Vicksburg. How about some human interest stories. Maybe we should just have a Wednesday and Sunday DDT..Things to ponder...

Anonymous said...

Give the new editor a chance. He's already made some noticeable improvements. And his editorials have been EXCELLENT. Eleanor Barkhorn and Laura Smith have been recent additions that have performed well, also. Laura seems to be making an effort to work with schools and community organizations to get their news in. Be patient.
Pick up the phone or send an email to the DDT. Give them your kind and considered suggestions. Ask appropriate and reasonable questions, and you might find that they are very responsive when they are not being unfairly (and anonymously) criticized.

No, I don't work for the DDT and never have, but I do recognize the need for a community-based newspaper that represents our interests while giving us access to news from the rest of the planet. I've learned that making an enemy of the editorial staff never helps. Play nice.

Much has changed in Greenville since the days of Hodding Carter. In the early 1950's, there was a sense of pride about living in Greenville. It was noted for outstanding literary figures, artists and its excellent local newspaper, the Delta Democrat Times.

Believe it or not, Greenville Public Schools was rated 12th in the nation for "best quality in public education." It was a simpler time, but there were many good things about Greenville. The DDT brought us much notoriety as a leader in innovative journalism and exemplary writing. Teachers actually used the DDT as a teaching tool as to the correct use of grammar and literary style (and they didn't have "spell check").

Greenville was a growing community and there was much to report in terms of the arts, culture and social change. The DDT was the primary source of news in the Delta and the quality and accuracy of its articles were well respected.

Today, Greenville has changed and so has the DDT. The Carters saw the end of an era coming and sold the newspaper to a syndicated conglomerate. Since then, the newspaper has changed hands several times and is no longer regarded as a source of journalist excellence. The DDT now competes with local television media that broadcasts four to five times a day. Most of what can be considered "news" is old news by the time we read it in the DDT.

However, as the above contributor noted, there have been some noted improvements in the quality of editorials and commentaries presented in the DDT, to which credit must be given. Personally, I would hate to see the DDT fail or be reduced to a biweekly publication. A newspaper can be more than simply "news", but it must stay in tune with its readership.

Forthright

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Greenville Public Schools did indeed have a stellar reputation in the state during the first half of the century. Don't overlook, though, that those figures and and accolades refer to an all-white school system. OF COURSE Greenville High was a high-achieving school! There was no need for the doctors and lawyers and businessmen of the day to send their kids to private schools, because the pubic schools were exemplary. And lily white. There were separate black schools, of course, but they didn't get the press that the white schools did. Just the way of the world at that time. Not specific to Greenville.

Private schools cropped up when they did as a response to the eventual plight of the integrated public schools. Had those students stayed in the school system, though, it likely would have had little impact in an integrated system with busing. Our city's "leaders" saw to it that equality in numbers (and wards) took precedence over individual needs of students and their access to neighborhood schools. And frankly, most of the private schools' students live outside the city limits of Greenville; the rest of Greenville's middle class has fled to Madison and elsewhere.

Local Reflector said...

Please, if you can, support the Delta Democrat Times and give new leadership a chance to prove itself. Granted, the early part of this decade saw the previous managers play deference to local politicians who don't want the public to get in tune with what's happening under their leadership. The perception was a reality, then, and may've contributed to philosophical disagreements between some subscribers and the publisher. It's one thing the cheerlead for a region, it's another to insist that the general public turn its head or be labeled as a malcontent.

Granted, there's a difference between attacking the newspaper emotionally and noting the growing number of wire stories being published daily. Remember, that media outlets are 100% dependent on local merchants to advertise with some national advertising purchases. As car lots find sales plummeting and other industries survive the recession, becoming monopolies with no pressure to market to a captive audience, you'll see media financial struggles. The result is fewer reporters with the same or growing demands of the readership.

TV news does make the spot news coverage dated in the newspaper but young television reporters may not have the time to dig deeper or sufficient training (at this stage of their career) to follow complex issues. Their audiences won't allow a slower news pace so it's "run and gun." However, advertising solely funds TV newsrooms to broadcast to larger audiences but there's no "pay per view" aspect to subscribing to watch local news whereas a daily paper subscription IS pay to view.

There is a niche on which to capitalize. Is there enough of a paying audience and reading audience to justify advertising in local media and thus helping reporters earn a small living in Greenville? It's a dilemma facing newspapers and local broadcasters across this country as people forgo the knowledge of what's happening on their street in favor of nightly cable "political entertainment" shows many assume to be journalistic programs over editorial platforms on strictly national issues.

The DDT could learn much from the success of the "Delta Scoop" by and large. There's a lot of whining on here but there are always stubbles among the hay. News die-hards seek engagement when discussing the issues. They are few but they are empowering to reporters, each other and to those who are seeking better understanding and involvement.

However, an independent media must be cultivated. It's not enough to silence "everyman critics and it's NO public service to for there to be no journalist watchdogs on city hall or the county courthouse. A hybrid relationship serves the same purpose for readers as having no newspaper or local news broadcast. One media outlet may disappear but if the existing news outlets don't tell it "straight," what's the difference?

Anonymous said...

Welcome back, LR. You've been missed.

Anonymous said...

Local Reflector I agree with all you have said and i have enjoyed our local paper for over 50 yrs.
Now let me state how hard it is to support our local businesses under the present leadership. Yes it is very hard !
Mayor Hudson has created the worst disaster in Greenville since the 1927 flood. Yes Greenville survived the flood and flourished but under our present leadership we are on a path that will end in failure if the leadership does not change. Even if she resigns we will be no better off with Gines so we are literally in a no win situation. Mr Jefcoat had us in descent shape and after he left it was all downhill.
Mayor Hudson wants this city black and wants to do it with grant money and government assistance 100%. Well mayor Greenville was not built that way. Greenville was built by business leaders who loved greenville and wanted to make a difference instead of just getting elected for a pay check. There is not 1 successful business leader on council. Sure there are some good people on council and some really want to make a difference but it has not happened under Hudson. The Morale in Greenville is terrible. It is no longer a place to come shop. The crime is terrible. The streets are terrible. No business wants to come here. The people who spend money do it outside of Greenville.
Wake up Mayor !
The fact is 35 per cent of the Greenville population is paying 100 per cent of the taxes and the rest are unemployed and getting government assistance with no ambition to do better.
The city is crumbling around us and regardless of economy and excuses the present leadership is responsible.
There is not a industry or business that could make a differece by locating in Greenville coming here until we clean Greenville up and have a major change at city hall.

Bottom Line.

Local Reflector said...

Greenville needs more of the entrepreneurial spirit, there's no question but that's a spirit that is cultivated or inspired as people believe in their abilities. Many times, grant monies short circuit the process by funding ideas or proposed ideas without a diligent audit of the grant recipients' ability or motivation to actually act on the proposal not to mention short-circuiting the natural forces that dictate whether a proposed program or project is an effective or "good" idea or whether it needs to be replaced with the next experiment. Once grant recipients get acclimated to a steady paycheck via grant money, it KILLS the process entirely.

Why would a non-profit agency or citizen "activist" want to solve community challenges if the existence of the challenge (and its worsening) means more money, more pay and more political clout for the supposed expert? Grants can do great things for cash-strapped communities....paving roads (but in a timely manner) is one such benefit. But it depends on leaders at the local level actively working and not holding meetings, issuing soundbites and insisting that the public hear they're working hard yet are helpless in facing the situation at hand. These economic development meetings are basically the same meeting being held over and over and over. I believe a severely apathetic general public allows this to occur. Apathy allows the incompetent to reign without worry while cheating the community of brain power and intellect (as people choose NOT to offer possibly constructive ideas or honest "medicine").

If 35% of the people are paying 100% of the taxes, I don't think that fact is lost on Greenville leaders. I certainly do not believe they would purposely punish taxpayers though you taxpayers may feel punished. If they keep raising taxes, they risk greater outward migration of citizens with the financial means to move away from the fiscal policy. If they start cutting services, they'll alienate tax payers who believe they are getting NOTHING for their tax payments instead of the current disappointment.

In summary, your legacy families will stay and go down with the proverbial ship and don't have the answers - they ruled the area well before a second-term mayor. A new influx of new citizens, while openly supported, probably isn't so popular behind closed doors and at a personal level (where new residents would feel their sense of "home" when arriving).

So, how do you inspire a generation of people while instilling a work ethic and removing excuse?. Civic leaders are talking a talk but the "walking" must be done by the displaced workers who'll earn a paycheck and then stimulate the local economy. Think Textron. Employees who said they needed work effectively ruined it making the Greenville plant not worth the company's efforts in spite of heavy economic development subsidies. Local leaders really are helpless except to adjust or maintain tax rates and public expenditures to keep current taxpayers somewhat stable and attempt to hold population levels

I don't envy the job. I've never bought into the power of positive thinking without an effort to create a business-friendly environment (public school quality, acceptable crime levels, quality water & sewer and decent property tax rates to encourage relocation and home purchases).

Remember, if most of the people are on gov't. assistance....and most of the political and civic leaders benefit from the transfer of gov't. payment monies into their businesses (rents, gambling, etc), then it's an uphill climb to get potential workers to earn their way off the dole, cutting off guaranteed subsidies AND the guaranteed cashflow of local business and political interests who thrive of the steady cash transfer on a monthly basis.

I'm afraid your economy is based on low and no-income citizens transferring its finances (in tiny pieces) to smaller class of leaders who benefit financially and offering its subsequent apathy to current incumbents.

It's a mind game, really.

Anonymous said...

Nicely written Reflector 1

What is sad is Our so called elected officials do not have the answer.The majority of the Greenville population does not care what the city looks like or for that matter what happens in the process. As long as they get that check every month every thing is fine. They have no ambition to do better because our federal and state govt has given them enough money to eat and live and they do not want more. Unfortunately with this attitude it is passed on to the siblings and guess what? It snowballs from there. Greenville is in the snowball !
Greenville has got to start from ground up. Just like it did after the 27 flood. The streets have got to be repaired, the old buildings have to be torn down, vacant lots cleaned up,the lighting on every street has to be repaired etc etc.
I will not even get into the crime that is not only in the streets but in the govt.
The majority of the Greenville residents who pay the taxes go out of Greenville to shop and receive their medical care.They do not go north of 82 for fear of crime yet we have a Mayor who supports the release of a accused murderer. Oh it is so sad !
Unfortunately with Mayor Hudson everything is Black and White and as long as she can get a black in office or get them a contract she is successful. I have witnessed people who could make a difference refuse because our Mayor is so predjudice. I guess the Mayor did not come back from Germany with any ideas that might help. $$$$

Just too many negatives to discuss here but that 35% needs to voice a opinion. Why You Say They Do Not ?

They would be called racial or predjudice.

Take a ride around and see for yourself; if our City is not slowly crumbling away.

Anonymous said...

Just three years ago I bought a house at a pretty good price, 60k in a older community but nice. Since my purchase, One neighbor has painted there house PURPLE!!! and one LIME GREEN!!! and another a puke green. What is the deal with these BAD picks of color?? Do they not realize painting them these colors DROPS the value of there house and every house in that area!!
Since these houses have been decorated so lovely the "HOOD" has devalued itself. People have stopped keeping there house up and the yards are nasty. It upsets me that my house is not worth half of what I paid for it now.
Is there not a city ordinance about these off colors and neighborhood trash?

Agreed! said...

I totally agree with the commentaries of the paper and the City Leadership of Mayor Hudson. She is not called the "Traveling Mayor" for no reason and all that traveling courtesy of our tax dollars has not paid off. Two trips to Germany in one year's time span and for what?? What potentials did she come back with for Greenville? Industry, trade, commerce, tourism??? No but she found some great shopping there!

There is so much money wasted needlessly and ignorantly, it baffles the mind of how it keeps happening. Ex: The recent Bill Andrews insurance rejection to avoid a $10,000 deductible; but thousands more than that in premiums is fine and dandy???? That math is too simple for words.

Mayor Hudson is a dyed in the wool, self serving, spoiled rotten DIVA child that has a lot more growing up to do, before she can begin to relate to the citizens, their needs and even care what happens to Greenville. She is all talk and no action....except for traveling and her fun trips...lots of actions there, just no results to benefit her community.

Until we get her out of there, we just have to wait and see what does or does NOT come next...meanwhile, our only hope for Greenville is a company that is ill informed...not likely!

Anonymous said...

The purple orange and green homes are also on Washington Avenue and i do feel for you in your neighborhood; because the people like yourself who want to keep their place nice are in a minority in Greenville now.
What about 82 now with the bright colored sno cone stands,hot tamale stands,hot dog stands, or the peddlers selling worthless merchandise along the highway. Prostitutes working the old motels.The people with open containers cluttering the auto repair shops.

We do need to give our new police chief a chance. He probably had to clean up the department before he hits the streets.