The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

August 13, 2012

News with color not part of paper’s DNA

Editor and Publisher
John H. Walker

TARBORO — Once upon a time, I had a publisher whose seem to think that a day in which at least one hour wasn’t wasted in meetings was, well, a waste.

I don’t like meetings ... especially those that drone on and on and on when one of the participants wastes everyone else’s time asking questions after the fact when it would have been easier for them to have done their homework.

Needless to say, formal staff meetings at The Daily Southerner are few and far between.

Instead, we talk all day long about what we are working on, selling and activities in the community.

We had a discussion Friday morning after Calvin Adkins, a respected and vital member of this staff and community, received a call about the need for him to write “a black story.”

Calvin explained that while he is black, be doesn’t write “black news” any more than a white staff member might write “white news.”

“I write the news,” he told the caller, “and what you’re calling about is not a news story. It’s not an issue.”

When he finished with the conversation, he told me what the caller wanted — and I agreed with Calvin that it wasn’t an issue.

It was at that point that we got into a discussion on the value of what we do and why we do it.

I recalled a newspaper informational campaign from a few years ago that went along the lines of “If newspapers didn’t tell you, who would?”

It’s important that we make the pages of The Daily Southerner — your newspaper — available to everyone.

Everyone ... even if we disagree with their point of view or approach to doing things.

The newspaper is the voice of the community and her people. We are the living history book.

But to write a “black” story or a “white” story ... or a story of any other color, is simply not part of this newspaper’s DNA.

I realize we have readers who feel there’s too much Princeville in the newspaper ... but I’d ask those readers to ponder how the citizens of that community would have learned about planned rate hikes and tax increases if it hadn’t been for this newspaper?

After all, since the hikes weren’t mentioned in the budget hearing, it was clear the administration didn’t plan on sharing that news!

We strive to do the right thing for the right reason every day.

(John H. Walker is editor and publisher of The Daily Southerner and may be reached at 823-3106 or