The rich spirit of competition

Published 7:13 pm Friday, June 5, 2009

One thing you may not realize about journalists is that we are immensely competitive.

Beating another outlet on a story, writing a better story than our competition or putting out a better product than those who preceded us are three major things that makes this profession and the hours it forces us to keep so much fun.

In 2005, I was working on a story the subject matter of which was on CNN, Fox News, USA Today, every news Web site known to man and just about every other media outlet on the planet. But it was in the Clanton Advertiser first.

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I broke the story. I got the most details and, I think, got the best story.

In October 2005, the 2,000th US soldier was killed in Iraq. Coincidence would have it that the young man happened to be from Clanton and his family lived not more than a mile from Tiffany, Lizzie and I.

That tragic story appeared in our next edition. Over the course of the next 24 hours, it was all over the globe. The New York Daily News, a newspaper with a circulation at the time of more than 1 million readers, gave me a byline in their newspaper. That article is framed in my office.

This is a competitive business, and at the root of every journalist beats the heart of a competitor, and some of the greatest satisfaction comes when you are judged against your peers.

The editorial staff at your Demopolis Times received notification last week that we have won three awards in the Better Newspapers Contest hosted by the Alabama Press Association.

We were honored with awards for Best Editorial Page, Best Human Interest Column and Best Graphic or Illustration. The last award was for a photo taken by Michael Clements during football season.

Michael is a valuable member of our team here. What he does for this newspaper and Demopolis’ young athletes cannot be understated.

Jeremy D. Smith and David B. Snow work tirelessly in effort to continuously better our news product.

I believe this will pay off in spades at the next competition when they have a full publication year of their work to turn in for judging next year.

While we do derive a great deal of satisfaction from these awards, the greatest award we get comes from our readers.

Thank you for your readership and your compliments. To our local businesses, thank you for your advertisements.

You are each playing a role in the continued growth of this newspaper, and we share these awards with each of you.

Jason Cannon is editor and publisher of the Demopolis Times.