2012-10-10 / Opinion

Up The Creek Without A Paddle

Who? What? Why? When?
by Terry Toole

"Terry Toole, I'll tell you what I don't like about you or your newspaper-" is what one of my friends came in to tell me last week.

My stock answer is that we don't make the news, we try to report it, the good, the bad and the ugly.

This fellow is not the first, or probably isn't the last friend or foe who will tell me that there is something they don't like about me or what I write.

Lord knows I don't even agree with what I write, or put in this newspaper at times. I keep reminding myself that this is a newspaper. The folks that work for/with me don't agree with what is put in this newspaper at times. Heck, the woman I sleep with every night is one of my best and worst critics.

You people really got cheated when my Uncle Bert andAuntWillie called me in to tell me that I was going to have to run the Liberal. Even though I was born and reared "helping" Grandma Zula, my dad Joseph Toole and my Uncle Bert andAuntWillie at the newspaper, I never wrote a word of news in this newspaper.

I never took a day of journalism at school. I set type on the Linotype and other machines from copy, but never got paid for it. Thank goodness for my social security check. The pay for newspaper work still doesn't do too well.

I guess what I'm saying is that on-the-job training is all I've had, and still trying to get. I've done a good bit of reading and a lot of copying other newspapers who might know what they are doing. I've really studied the five Ws, and one H, as a concept in news style, research that is regarded as basic.They are Who, What, Why, When, Where and How.

Sounds simple, until you start trying to put them all together to get a complete story.

Most of the time, I have an almost impossible time getting all those questions asked.

Over the past 36 years as publisher and editor, it has been, and still is, quite a learning experience. I've been shot at, beat on, talked about, cussed, threatened, cussed, had contracts put on my life and cussed. Most of the worst was done by friends or high officials. Many of them are dead and gone.At times, I miss them.

Looking back, seeing what is going on now, and what might be in the future, there are not too many things I would change in these almost 77 years.

I've found that if you stay with the truth, you don't have to remember what you said. If you do with what you've got, you don't have to wish for something others have. If you treat folks fairly, they might not love you for it, but they will respect you for being fair.

Editors note: I have worked long and hard to do the best I could with what I have, but at times, have come up far short of what I should have done.

I have never had any desire to be a kept citizen, with the state looking after me. I was taught better than to swap incentive for a handout. I will never trade freedom for what government will give me. I was taught to respect authority, but to fight having a master, except my Heavenly One.

I have never been afraid of anyone other than my father and mother's authority. I've been taught to work for what I have been put in trust over, and to know that I came here with nothing, and I will leave the same way.

My faith teaches me that every one of us are created to live forever, and this is not our home. We are born, will live and will die and go to live in eternity. It's where we wind up in eternity that we need to be very careful of.

The biggest question that I'm asked, regularly is, "Who is going to run the Miller County Liberal?"

I have no idea. I hope that I can be carried out of here into eternity. In other words, I won't quit unless I have to.

If I can stay a few more years, maybe, just maybe I'll learn enough to publish you a good newspaper, one you don't have to like, but have lots of respect for.

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