Out of position at an unfortunate event
So, as a journalist, you always want to be in the right place at just the right time. It’s nearly impossible, but everyone has to have a goal in life.
It explains why so many of us died Sept. 11, 2001 trying to get into the Twin Towers. It explains why journalists want to be war correspondents. It explains why I have applied to my publisher for hazardous duty, county council pay.
The Aug. 8 county council meeting was hazardous, with everything except flying projectiles - even though Stewart Jones’ glasses did take a beating.
I did not get that great picture. Joe Wood pointing his finger at Jones - and Jones pointing right back, with Ted Nash’s deer-in-the-headlights look sitting between them. Stewart wanted to walk out of the meeting, but his pathway was blocked on both sides. He was fixing to fly right over the council table. That would have looked great on the videotape he was making of the meeting.
I did not get that finger-pointing picture, but WSPA-TV did. I almost cried when I saw it on their website. I did everything I knew how to do to steal it, and publish it. Then call the best lawyer I know to defend the copyright infringement lawsuit.
Because when the county council members are yelling at private citizens and then at each other - man, that’s as good as it gets in the news business. Despite what our editorial says today, what the world needs more of is yelling, and tweeting. Especially tweeting. Did you know journalists hold more Twitter accounts than any other profession (NBA players are a close second), and long-standing military policy encouraging the brave service of some of its members can be changed - poof! - just like that, with the Commander in Chief’s Twitter handle.
I was where I was supposed to be Aug. 8 in the county council chambers, and I will be back in my perfect spot for the meeting on Aug. 22. Somebody told me the other day about the Aug. 8 / Aug. 22 meetings, “If you thought that was something, just wait til this Tuesday.”
WSPA was right where they needed to be last Tuesday night - on the Wood-Jones side of the council chambers. I was on the Pitts - McDaniel side, not nearly as action-packed for this particular meeting. After all the yelling was done, and the council figured out a way to have the public walk out, everybody was kind of stunned and some were apologetic. Chairman Wood was not, he made one more comment about Councilman Jones - then they all went in the back to talk about something else. Make no mistake, though, Mr. Wood got done what he came to do. In his way, he stood up for the Laurens County Government Workforce - at least the part of it whose feelings were hurt what other media wrote about “Phone Line to Nowhere” and “$800,000 Wasted.” Once Jon Caime put out the word that county employees were to suggest ways to save money, they have done so - yet, none of them seem to be getting credit for it. Somebody from the outside - SpyGlass in this case - needs to come in and find ways to save money, and make money in the process. I can understand why county employees are nervous about an outside person with access to phone records. Ole Miss football head coach Hugh Freeze lost his job because somebody got access to records of his university-issued phone. Nobody likes to have somebody else looking over their shoulder all the time.
But if Laurens County is going to wipe out its $1 million annual deficit - there is no chance they’re going to get that Local Government money back from the General Assembly - and actually lower taxes, savings are essential. The County is run very efficiently - if we say it often enough, it just might be true.
(Video of the Aug. 8 Laurens County Council meeting is at MyClintonNews.com; it’s 58 minutes and Chairman Wood’s statement and subsequent drama start at the 45-minute mark. Vic MacDonald is Editor of The Clinton Chronicle. Contact him at 833-1900 or firstname.lastname@example.org)