Saturday, May 27, 2017

Some thoughts about my 40-year anniversary

I am not quite sure of the date, but it was either May 23, 1977,  or right around that time that I had my first automobile accident.

I was driving Mom's car in Neosho and I accidentally turned down a road that I had never driven before. As I reached an intersection and drove it through it, I saw a car barreling in on me and there was nothing I could do. It slammed into the passenger side door.

We both got out of our cars to assess the damage.

The other driver appeared to be in his late 30s or early 40s and shouted at me, "You ran the stop sign."

"What stop sign?" I asked. I looked over and I could barely see a stop sign because it was almost thoroughly obscured by tree branches.

A number of people had been outside and a few had seen the crash. When the Neosho Police arrived, no tickets were written. The police officer acknowledged that someone who was unfamiliar with the street would not have known there was a stop sign there. He did give me a well-deserved lecture on being cautious as I approached intersections.

That was the first time I had ever been in any kind of traffic accident- and it was also the first day of my journalism career. 

When I had my accident, I was driving home from an interview at the Neosho Daily News, where I was hired to be the editor of the weekly Newton County News.

Why I had the nerve to apply for a job as editor of a newspaper when I had no experience, other than writing a column for the East Newton Fife and Drum (and publishing an underground newspaper when I was a freshman in high school and getting suspended for it, but I didn't mention that during the interview).

Now at 21, I was the editor of the Newton County News. Actually, I was the co-editor of the newspaper along with recent East Newton High School graduate Karen Sapp, who had been the editor of the Fife and Drum.

Karen was the one who knew what she was doing. I didn't have the slightest idea.

We were hired because we were the only ones who applied for the job.

When school started that fall, Karen left, and for the next six months, readers in the Granby and Diamond area were forced to endure the person who was not only the youngest editor of a Missouri newspaper at that time, but also the worst.

The publisher, Richard Bush, finally fired me by mail in February. In addition to being editor, I was also the advertising sales person. Bush might have been able to tolerate a thoroughly incompetent editor, but not an ad sales person who couldn't sell any ads.

Still, my nine months at the Newton County News made me determined to somehow get another newspaper job and learn how to do the job right, so despite my complete failure there, I still celebrate the day I was hired, despite the accident.

A couple of months after my time at the Newton County News ended, I saw an advertisement for a reporter at the Lamar Democrat, which at that time was the smallest daily newspaper in Missouri.

I was still attending Missouri Southern, so I could not take a job, but I called the Democrat editor, Lou Nell Clark, and told her I could not apply for the job, but that I was interested in learning about newspapers and hoped to be able to land a newspaper job when the semester ended at Southern.

For some reason, she asked me to come to Lamar and talk with her. I did and in May, the sports editor position opened up at the Democrat and I was back in the newspaper business.

During my eight months at the Democrat, I made it a point to learn as much as I could from the people who worked there, primarily Lou Nell, who taught me about reporting, the production manager Russell Pierson, and the proofreader/typesetter Dorothy Parks, who drilled home the importance of accuracy.

Budget cuts ended my time there in December 1978, but a month later, the company hired me as editor of the weekly Lockwood Luminary-Golden City Herald. This time, I knew how to write and edit for a weekly newspaper.

I loved that job and hated it when Boone Newspapers decided to shut the newspaper down in October 1979.

I returned to Missouri Southern after that and earned my teaching degree, doing my student teaching at Diamond Junior High, while working for Editor Emery Styron at the Newton County News. When he left, I once again became editor of that publication. After that, I returned to the Democrat as managing editor from 1982 through the early part of 1990, when I left to become a general assignment reporter for the Carthage Press. Three years later, I became managing editor, a position I held until May 1999.

Even though I spent the next 14 years as a classroom teacher, first at Diamond and then Joplin, I continued journalism, at first through a Turner Report website, which may have had 20 readers at most, and later with the Turner Report and Inside Joplin blogs. During that time, I also wrote columns and occasionally provided school and sports coverage for the Newton County News, briefly wrote a column for KY3's website, and provided blogs and columns for the Huffington Post and Daily Kos.

It all started 40 years ago and I have never grown tired of reporting.

(The photo was taken shortly after I began working as editor of the Lockwood Luminary-Golden City Herald in January 1979.)

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't worry Randy. After forty years you are still a clueless lying hack unable to comprehend why nobody bothers to read a newspaper any more but rather prefer to get our news from off the Internet and talk radio.

Why pay good money in order to be lied to and sleazed at?

Anonymous said...

Congrats!

Steve Holmes said...

10:21:

Please point out Randy's lies. One. Let's start with one.

I'm not expecting a reply.

The Tail of Randy Turner said...

Stevie, it is a lot easier to point out where Randy is telling the truth than to catalog all oF Randy's lies and deception.

Read some of Randy's books or better yet read the blog when Randy isn't censoring the comments. Randy's own internal image of himself is of someone who thinks he is conservative / moderate who just wants what is best. We see a savagely twisted hack who wants to turn Joplin into another Kansas City or St. Louis but doesn't want to go back home to Newtonia where people know Turner for what Turner is, i.e. someone who just doesn't fit in because Turner doesn't think anything like country and small town white folks. Turner 'thinks' he is so much better than they are. They know Turner for being so much worse and are happy that he is stinking up Joplin and sort of wish that he would add his moral sanctimonious stench further away to Kansas City or St. Louis or Columbia.

The newspapers declined and then out-right collapsed because it was full of middle-brow closet liberals like Turner pretending to be objective when they were anything but honest fair and balanced. So white men who could read and think got out of the habit of reading or doing anything but mining the lie-papers for basic information which we repackaged for our own blogs and web pages. The vast majority of the semi-literate won't even bother to eat Turner's lying slanted crap right up or at all.

So now this column of Turner's is akin to a caterpillar reminiscing about the daze of its youth when the milkweed plant was healthy and Turner munched away at the root, the trunk and the tip and withered the plant and now as a sterile moth yaps about how wonderful it all was before it went all grey and was sent to the margins to die like an abandoned dog in the shelter awaiting euthanasia.

You could say much the same thing about all the Boomers who didn't get to steal like the Clintons and get away with it. Now Cankles the Hildebeest is pretty much sidelined but with billions left in grift wondering why the 2010s are not like the 1990s. Turner's decade when he used to be a reporter then managing editor was in the 1990s and then his lies and fraud got him fired and blacklisted. Then the decade of the 2000's meant playing at being a biased mediocre troublesome public school teacher and we all know how that ended up.

What happened with Turner was inevitable as with practically all First-Wave Baby Boomer drones. They were indulgently told by their parents who fought to make the world safe for Capitalism and Communism that they were the future, so they destroyed their present so that there is no future. Is there anyone so delusional that they don't see what has happened to both the news media and public education? Think that this is an accident given that people like Turner were involved in both?

Turner is a sick feeble old drone, the hive is on the verge of Colony Collapse Disorder and Winter is coming.

Randy said...

I will apologize to my readers and admit the truth of what the lengthy anonymous comment said. I do censor comments, especially racist comments coming either from Martin Lindstedt or someone who writes in a style that is remarkably close to Martin Lindstedt's (and that is not a compliment).

One thing I have not done is to deprive Lindstedt (or whoever this is) of his First Amendment rights. I have no obligation to post his rants and after doing so several times over the years when he thought he was slipping one past me by mildly editing his normal stream of consciousness writing, I finally put a stop to it a while back.

This time, I was curious about what incredible lies I must have told that would get him so riled. Apparently, he couldn't think of any, but he has such an intense dislike of me that he was still able to launch into a harangue that lasted several paragraphs.

Lindstedt (if this is he) has his own blogs and can feel free to post this kind of trash, considerably more unfiltered than he has had to be to ever get posted on this blog. He can still spread his viewpoint and other than reaching several thousand less readers, I am sure he will still be able to reach his target audience.

If his target audience is reading the Turner Report then I have failed as a blogger and as a human being.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious, you write a blog that is essentially free, yet complain about the paid newspapers. How do you make any money of people get their content for free?

Steve Holmes said...

Ah, 2:04, a thousand words and no direct answer. I have read some of his books. I challenge you again. No general bitching. Get specific. Point out a lie. Point out why it's a lie. Pick it apart as if disproving it in court.

ozarkteller said...

Thank you for the trip down memory lane, Randy. It put a smile on my face. -- Diane Humphrey

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Randy, for always posting the truth. I, for one, have learned so much from your articles, and have appreciated your transparency, always telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I own, and have read, almost all of your books, and have read the rest. Steve is right to challenge the vindictive troll of 10:21 to find even one lie you have supposedly written. He can't possibly find one, because not even one lie written by you exists. When you have written an erroneous detail, you are humble enough to correct your slight error, and apologize. But NONE were a result of lying to us. I consistently go to your posts to find out what is actually going on in the area. The Joplin Glob only gives you half truths, if that, and I do not trust them to tell the whole story. You get their slant, which I consider to be 'fake' news. If you want to read the truth, read Randy's post. And as to 10:21 and 2:04, why are you bothering to read Randy's posts and replying if you aren't interesting in what he has to say? Get a real life. Randy already has one, providing a vital service to his readers. I proudly subscribe to his blog, and am happy to give him my contributions.

Anonymous said...

Randy I googled that name, and i needed to take several showers to wash off the filth.

If I have a higher water bill I'm thinking about forwarding the extra amount on the bill for you to pay. Should be 12 to 13 cents.