The Joplin Business Journal, Joplin Daily, and now the Springfield News-Leader have been added to the news sources that have stories about the death of former Joplin Globe Editor Tom Murray on their websites.
The first link I placed to the Murray story Monday came from a Kentucky publication.
So far, unless something was included in today's print edition, which I have not seen yet, the Joplin Globe, where Murray spent most of his life, has not run a separate article on its former editor, only a one-paragraph death notice and a paid obituary.
I do not know the reason for this appalling news judgment, perhaps it dates back to the circumstances of Mr. Murray's departure from the Globe, but a newspaper's responsibility is to report on news of importance to its community. Sometimes that involves going back to the past and reminding the readers why someone was important. For a long time, Tom Murray played a powerful role in the city of Joplin. It was he, just like Edgar Simpson today, who decided what stories the Globe covered and what kind of placement they should receive. And in a one-newspaper town, which the Globe was during that era, that made Mr. Murray an important person.
I have written this many times before, but a newspaper can be judged by the way it handles the passing of prominent people. That definitely applies to those who have been prominent, but Mr. Murray fits into both categories. Not only was he a major figure in Joplin media in the past, but he made a comeback this year as editor and publisher at the Joplin Business Journal.
Of course, this decision was made by the same people, who ran longtime Globe columnist Gary Garton's death on page three, while running a months-old picture of Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake and the infamous wardrobe malfunction on page one.