Monday, November 22, 2021

Rural journalist, dying of cancer, reflects in weekly columns

Dave Taylor
This spring, Dave Taylor found out he had Stage 4 esophageal cancer. The veteran journalist, editor of the weekly Hancock Clarion in Hawesville, Kentucky, began writing about the experience the week afterward in a column series called "What I Learned From Dying."

"If things go well this will be a long-term column that could serve as catharsis for me or a peek behind the gown for those who are curious," Taylor wrote in the first column. "If things don’t go as well, then maybe it’s just a long, rambling goodbye."

Since that first column in May, Taylor has reflected not just on his life, but on journalism and the value of local reporting. "While the stories I’ve covered haven’t always been earth shattering, they’ve been important to the people in those stories and maybe important to those who read them," he writes.

The Clarion—and other rural newspapers—play a vital role in their communities. "Nowhere else are you going to find pictures of your kids at the fair or an action shot of the homerun your grandson hit in the big game last week," Taylor writes. "But we also play the role of local historians. We mark history with every story we write and photo we print. When someone wants information about anything in the past they turn to the newspaper."

Staffers at the paper, owned by longtime Publisher Donn Wimmer, do their best to cover local happenings "because generally speaking, we’re the only ones covering Hancock County at all," he writes. "Please continue to read and support the Clarion. It’s the only paper we’ve got."

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