Monday, May 07, 2018

Small town Oklahoma daily editor explains why she stuck with rural journalism in thoughtful opinion column

In a thoughtful opinion column, Kim Poindexter, the managing editor of the Tahlequah Daily Press in Oklahoma, explains why she stayed in rural journalism--and in journalism altogether, with its notoriously long hours and lousy pay.

Poindexter always wanted to be a writer, but her decision to become a journalist "was not welcomed with joy" by her family, who adored President Nixon and were appalled that journalists had forced his resignation. But: "Journalism is a noble profession. I know that, and so do you, or you wouldn't be reading this newspaper," she writes. "You and I know what the Father of this nation envisioned for the Fourth Estate, and how critical they deemed our 'watchdog' function to be against the inevitability of a government gone awry. That's why the First Amendment is first, and the Second, second: The pen truly is mightier than the sword, and all of us who have a lick of sense know that."

Today, journalists are a dying breed whom many Americans believe are the purveyors of "fake news," Poindexter writes. That didn't start with President Trump, though: "What came first was the disparaging of teachers, and attempts by self-serving politicians to dismantle public education," she writes. "It's a historical fact that the first people to be sent by would-be tyrants to the proverbial gulag are educators, journalists, doctors, lawyers and anyone else who might be in a position to question their authority. The power-brokers would rather keep the rest of us as ignorant as possible, so we'll believe whatever they say, no matter how preposterous, and regardless of how much evidence is put forth to dispel their lies."

Poindexter writes that she enjoys the opportunity to fight those power-brokers at the local level. "I've grown to love not just the Press, but Tahlequah itself. I've made a commitment to this little city, with its eclectic mix of people, talent, landscapes, and opportunities," she writes.

Read more here.

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