Thursday, July 01, 2010

Publisher's novel celebrates community journalism

Tim Spitzack, editor and publisher of an urban community-newspaper publishing company in Minnesota, St. Paul Publishing Co., has a written The Messenger, a novel that he says is designed to "pay tribute to those in all communities who quietly go about their lives making a difference in the lives of their families and others around them."

The protagonist is John Jenkins, a young journalist marking time at the Marquette Messenger until he can get into a larger market. He thinks nothing significant ever happens in a farming community, but one day he is told to write the obituary of an elderly local farmer. The remarkable, untold story Jenkins uncovers through his investigation, happenstance encounters with people who knew the man, and covert visits to his farm, challenge everything the young reporter holds dear. "The Messenger is a poignant glimpse of the heart wounds of WWII vets on both sides of the line," says the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association Bulletin.

"There's a popular phrase in community journalism that says there are no bad stories, only bad writers," Spitzack says. "What this means is that there are a multitude of interesting stories about our fellow citizens to discover if we are willing to scratch below the surface. I wrote The Messenger to pay tribute to the people who live quiet lives, but through their acts of love and compassion influence the lives of so many others." Published by OakTara, the first chapter and a half are in the media kit at

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