By: Angela Gary
The Banks County News
May 29, 2002
Hopes patriotism continues to shine
The terroristic attacks on the United States last fall have impacted people in many different ways. Even those not directly involved, still feel the shock waves from that horrific time.
Some people travel a lot less than they used to. Others wont leave their neighborhoods at all because of fears that another attack will come.
One of the few positive things that has come from that time is the swell in patriotism. It used to be only July 4, Memorial Day and Veterans Day that you would see a flag waving. Now, flags are common at homes, offices and on cars. I even have a flag postcard stuck on my computer with America Home of the Free on it.
The pledge to the flag and the playing of patriotic tunes is even more common at ball games, concerts and other events than it has been in recent history. People stand with pride and say the pledge with meaning instead of quickly reciting those words they learned so long ago in elementary school.
Musicians, especially those who perform country music, have written new songs with patriotic themes, including Alan Jackson and Toby Keith. Others, including Lee Greenwood, sing their old-time favorite patriotic songs at their concerts. From Brooks and Dunn singing Only in America to Aaron Tippin singing Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly, more American pride than ever before can be found in the music world.
Im proud of the flag and all that it stands for. I hope that signs of our American pride continue to wave as symbols of the freedom that we all enjoy. I hope songs filled with the wonders of this country continue to fill the airwaves and concert halls.
I hope this wave of patriotism continues to fly high. The intent of the attacks was to tear American apart so Im glad to see us come together.
Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News and associate editor of The Jackson Herald. She can be reached at AngieEditor@aol.com.
By: Rochelle Beckstein
The Banks County News
May 29, 2002
Im a person, too
Test Taking Strategy #3: In a True/False question, if the word all or none is used, assume the answer is false.
I learned test taking strategy #3 in first grade. It helped me to succeed on true/false tests for 15 years, but it didnt take me that long to figure out that that same strategy could be used in life.
All women cant drive. Not true.
No man likes to shop. Not true.
Football jocks cant make good grades. False.
All reporters are sensationalists. Again, not true.
If I were talking about static simplistic characters, all of these statements could be true. (And suitable for minor roles opposite real people.)
Generalizations like these rarely hold up under the microscope.
Im a reporter. But Im also a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter and a friend. I spend my free time sewing clothes for my daughter and reading popular fiction. I get up early in the morning because I cant sleep past dawn. I added a fish pond to my backyard because I like the sound of running water. I still believe every tall tale my father tells me even though hes been telling them to me for 22 years. I slow to 10 miles per hour when I see anything as big as a butterfly near the side of the road. Ive never stolen anything in my life, never smoked and I rarely drink alcohol. In fact I wouldnt know how to break the law. A reporter is not the sum of who I am.
I enjoy reporting good news. I have pride in my country and my state and it makes me happy when good things happen in my area of the world. I like high student test scores and successful building campaigns. But the bad must be reported with the good. If the bad is covered up, there would be few citizens improvement projects or petitions circulated to have stop signs placed at dangerous intersections. The news must be printed-all of it. There should never be an off the record comment. If you dont want it printed, then dont say it during a public meeting. Its that simple. Not printing a comment because its proceeded by This is off the record is dishonest on my part. And Im not going to become the reporter who picks and chooses what to report and what not to report. Its all news.
As a profession, reporters are ranked below lawyers on the likeability scale, but were paid considerably less. We dont do it for the money. We dont do it for the adulation of our reading public. We do it because we believe everyone has the freedom to know the truth just as they have the freedom to own property. Its an American right if not a human right.
And while Im proud to report the news, I refuse to be lumped into a category of all reporters. I dont deserve to be treated like I scour with vultures looking to feast on dead carcasses. Dramatic and comedic television shows have portrayed reporters as being the lowest of the low for so long that people believe it. We thrust tape recorders at widows and orphans, distort facts to sell papers and create the news if there is nothing sensational enough to report. Look around. Thats just not true.
I do my job and I do it well, but I can always use constructive criticism. Problems with my writing? Send me a note. Problems with societys perception of a reporter? Take it somewhere else.
Rochelle Beckstine is a reporter with MainStreet Newspapers.