Friday, June 10, 2016

'How do you say goodbye to someone who has been a legend in your midst?' newspaper asks

All Mary D. Ferguson ever wanted to be was a newspaper reporter, even before she started school. "It was a bold statement for a Kentucky farm girl during the Depression. Apparently no one bothered to tell her women didn’t do that kind of work then, or if they did, she ignored them and pushed ahead," the Kentucky New Era of Hopkinsville said in an editorial saluting the newspaper's longest-tenured employee, who died this week at 82.

"How do you say goodbye to someone who has been a legend in your midst? How do you ever do justice to their influence and good works?" the newspaper asked. "It’s going to be difficult. In many ways, Ferguson was the heart and soul of the New Era. Hundreds of journalists passed through our newsroom in the 54 years that she worked here. She influenced all of us. She made us better. She challenged us, made us laugh and made us think."

Ferguson's specialties were knowing the obscure facts and personal connections that a community newsroom needs to have at hand, feature stories with telling details, and,finally, obituaries that gave the proper sendoff. This, we hope, is part of hers. There have been, and still are, thousands of women like Mary D. Ferguson in community newspapers, and the work they do often goes unsung. So this sendoff of for them, too. May all of them get their own when it's time.

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