How to further destroy journalism with one single bad idea

In my previous life as a newspaper editor, I received many calls from readers pointing out errors in the paper. Some were nice. Some were patronizing. Some thought they were the funniest, most clever people ever to engage in journalistic discussion. But every time they called, I always had the same reaction – I was mad. Mad, mad, mad. Mad at myself for not catching it. Mad at a reporter for writing it. Mad at a copy editor for missing it. But just mad. Because I knew that the folks putting together your daily newspaper knew the difference between “its” and “it’s” and the proper way to spell “annex.”
(more…)

The execution of Jerry McWee

Originally published in the Aiken Standard, April 22, 2004.

On Friday, I sat in a small room with seven other people and watched a man die.

The execution of Jerry McWee was carried out with quiet efficiency, and I served as one of three media witnesses who would later relate the details of the execution to other members of the press.
(more…)

You never know who’s looking

Originally published in the Aiken Standard, Feb. 22, 2011.

Let me give you the moral of the story first: You never know who’s looking. And you never know how much they look up to you.

This true-life fable started last Thursday, when my wife, daughter and father-in-law went out to a restaurant. (Parker and I went home to make sure the Wii still worked.) They had been there a few minutes when a bus pulled up. The bus was hauling the Chattahoochee Valley Community College softball team from Phenix City, Ala., in town for a weekend tournament.
(more…)

Honor Flight – Journey of a Lifetime

Originally published in the Aiken Standard, April, 23, 2012.

The Beginning

The youngest was 83. The oldest was 98. The average age was 88.

One hundred of the Palmetto State’s members of the Greatest Generation began to fill the Columbia Metropolitan airport before daybreak on Wednesday. They wore matching red jackets, and many donned black ball caps emblazoned with “World War II Veteran” in gold lettering.
(more…)

Idella Bodie – Of Mysteries, Secrets and Ghosts

Originally published in Easy Street Magazine.

In her neatly decorated office, one wall is adorned with framed copies of letters, poems and scribbled drawings.

Some are from close friends, others from noted authors. They include messages from the likes of Ogden Nash, Archibald Rutledge and Pearl S. Buck. They are all personal communiqués to Idella Bodie, teacher and writer.
(more…)