Friday, December 18, 2015

Rural Georgia editor publishes book of his favorite columns: 'Please, No More Stupid Articles!'

Mike Buffington, editor of The Jackson Herald in Jefferson, Ga., and a former president of the National Newspaper Association, has compiled some of his favorite columns from the past four decades into one collection, "Please, No More Stupid Articles!" Buffington, who began working at the Herald in 1980 and has been writing columns ever since, wrote in the author's note: "The title of the book comes from one of the many unfriendly letters I've received over the years from readers who didn't particularly like what I had to say, Expressing an opinion every week in print in a small town is not a good way to cultivate friends. Still, it's been a privilege to have the opportunity to sit in the editor's chair at a small town weekly newspaper and write about the parade of life in my community and beyond."

Here is a sample from one of Buffington's columns, "An anthem for rural Georgia," written in 1991:
Mike Buffington
"One of the spin-off issues from the debate over building a second Atlanta airport in Jackson County has been a deepening rift between Metro Atlanta and the rest of Georgia. Of course the rift is not new. For years, political leaders in Atlanta have resented the influence of rural Georgia in state politics. In particular, the legislature has long been dominated by men from outside the metro area, much to the dismay of Atlanta's leaders.

"On the other hand, rural leaders have likewise resented the growth and affluence of Metro Atlanta. While some areas of Georgia have lost population and jobs, Metro Atlanta has prospered. The contrast between the poor rural counties and the rich metro counties has led to the theory of 'two Georgia.'

"So it is not surprising that a political split exists between the rural areas and the metro area. Both politically and economically, two very different Georgias exist indeed.

"Rural Georgia gives a lot of natural and human resources to Atlanta. Atlanta consumes those resources and creates economic prosperity which it shares with the rest of Georgia. It has been a good relationship of mutual needs and mutual benefits.

"It is a relationship that is in danger of getting out of balance. Myopic demands by Atlanta's leaders on the resources of rural Georgia threatens the long-term potential of those rural communities. Destroy rural Georgia, and you will destroy the very resources that enabled Atlanta to prosper in the first place.

"It's time Atlanta's leaders wake up and begin to recognize that Atlanta cannot, and indeed should not, breathe all the air in Georgia."
Buffington won this year's Eugene Cervi Award from the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors.

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