Erroneously credited to Confucius, it was actually newspaper editor Arthur Brisbane who said, while speaking to the Syracuse Advertising Men’s Club, in March 1911: “Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.”
Just before Thanksgiving, I happened upon an advertisement in our local paper, The James Island Messenger. The free weekly is a reincarnation of newspapers that have served our town for more than a half-century. The current transmigration is under new management.
The tabloid format presents a modern style for community newspapers in an era when many people consider digital, social media reliable sources of local information.
Posters on Facebook and Twitter reveal lots of personal details (often a bit too personal), but the images and stories are quickly absorbed into the ether of cyberspace.
That’s why I still believe in community newspapers. My experience researching family history would have been quite sterile without the details I found in them. Seeing a loved one’s name or picture in the paper is still special—particularly when it’s a good news story.
So, when the new editor/publisher advertised for part-time contributors, I applied. In just ten weeks, the paper has printed 20 of my photos, including six images illustrating cover stories. Community news fits my approach to candid portraiture and welcomes my storytelling style for events. In addition to showcasing some of my work, it’s a privilege to contribute to our community’s history.
[UPDATE: Effective June 16, 1916 James Island Messenger Editor Katy Calloway announced the suspension of the publication]