I had a group of reporters in their 20s working for me at the Carthage Press and all of them knew more about this new thing called the internet.
I didn't know anything about the internet.
When it was first installed in the newsroom, only two computers were set up for it- the one used by the City/Courthouse reporter Randee Kaiser, now our Jasper County sheriff, and the one by used our photographer Ron Graber.
It was much too busy each day for me to take time out of their work to teach me how to use the internet, so I watched how they connected to it (it was still in the dial-up stage) and one evening when everyone had gone home, I connected to the internet for the first time.
I was on there for hours, using Infoseek to find websites that might have news for Carthage Press readers.
The following day, I had three page one stories from my internet scavenger hunt. I don't remember what two of them were, but the third one was a decision made by the Missouri Southern District Court of Appeals concerning a Jasper County case.
I quickly found out that it was not that easy to come up with stories off the internet, Those were there because no one had been looking for them.
I had a good idea of the places to look for news because I had already been working in the newspaper business for two decades at that point.
The internet became a useful tool to augment our regular coverage.
In the 20 years since then, the amount of information that is available on the internet has increased a millionfold and it has made a one-man news outlet like the Turner Report/Inside Joplin.
Each day, I go through a series of internet beats and put the information on the blogs. My beats include government websites, Highway Patrol, police, sheriff's offices, school districts, YouTube and a few hundred e-mails that I receive each day from politicians and various news sources. I also receive notifications from a few dozen newspapers.
Among the e-mails I receive are updates from the funeral homes on deaths and services. There are also area funeral homes whose websites I check on a daily basis.
In addition to these methods of gathering news, I have a number of sources that I contact on a regular basis, I make trips to the Jasper County Circuit Clerk's office and I work on ideas and information that I receive from tips from readers.
I emphasize the internet this evening because nearly all of this information is available to my readers if they searched on their own but my job is to keep them from having to go to hundreds of websites to find information.
And because of my background and experience, I am often able to come across stories that have been missed or misplayed by area media outlets.
This type of service has become more and more useful in the past few years as Gatehouse Media's criminal abuse of local newspapers has turned a once vibrant six-day-a-week Carthage Press into a weekly and the Neosho Daily News into a misnamed twice weekly.
I haven't checked into the Carthage Press pricing, but I know my parents dropped the Neosho Daily after more than 60 years because the Daily went from five days to twice a week, but failed to lower its subscription prices.
The Turner Report/Inside Joplin also continues to provide the only free obituaries in the area and provides news, commentary and investigative reporting that is not available from any other news outlet.
If you want the Joplin Globe you can pay more than $200 a year or you can pay over $100 for the Daily or the Press.
You do not have to pay one cent for the Turner Report/Inside Joplin ... but it would be helpful if you would.
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Turner Book Sale Now Through Month of May
Copies of my four books on the Joplin Tornado are on sale now through May 31 at Changing Hands Book Shoppe and Always Buying Books in Joplin and Pat's Books in Carthage.
5:41: Stories from the Joplin Tornado, Spirit of Hope: The Year After the Joplin Tornado, and Silver Lining in a Funnel Cloud: Greed, Corruption and the Joplin Tornado, normally priced at $20 are on sale for $15.
Anyone buying one of those three books will get a free copy of Scars from the Tornado: One Year at Joplin East Middle School.
Anyone buying two of those books, will get a free copy of Scars, and a copy of any of my other books for $5.
Crowder Local Authors Symposium
It has been a long time, about 12 years since I have had a book signing at Neosho, but I will be at Crowder College this Wednesday, May 2, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Stop by and buy a book or a Turner Report t-shirt, bring me a news tip or just say hi.
I will have copies of all of my books available.
The local authors will give readings throughout the day. Mine is scheduled for 1:20 p.m.
Hope to see you there.
Top Turner Report/Inside Joplin Posts
The surprise number one post this week was on the Inside Joplin blog where the regular menu of arrests, accidents, dissolutions, marriage licenses and bankruptcies finished behind the awarding of an honorary degree to a Crowder vocational agriculture teacher.
The links to this week's top stories are printed below.
You can find the PayPal subscription and donation buttons below the links.
The Turner Report
1. Jasper fireman held without bond on child molestation, sodomy charges
2. Jim Cummins to replace Decker as Neosho superintendent
3. Carl Junction couple sues City of Joplin, police officer who allegedly ran red light
4. In jailhouse letter, accused Jayda Kyle killer says "I've never been a part of something so wrong and corrupt"
5. Joplin woman charged with DWI, leaving the scene of an accident, child endangerment following accident on I-44
6. After two decades, arrest made in murders of Ashley Freeman, Lauria Bible, Freeman's parents
7. Four more defendants sentenced in meth conspiracy that send Baird to prison
8. Joplin R-8 Board hires seven teachers, accepts 12 resignations
9. Greitens appoints Joplin neurosurgeon, term-limited Lamar representative to state boards
10. Josh Bard drops bid to remain on Joplin City Council
1. Crowder agriculture teacher receives honorary State FFA Degree
2. Galena motorcyclist killed in collision with SUV driven by Mark Rohr
3. Jasper County Sheriff's Office Arrests
4. Joplin Police Department Weekend Arrests
5. Citizen call leads to Joplin Police Department arrests for drugs, weapons, endangering the welfare of a child
6. Joplin Housing Authority receives $90,999 to provide permanent home for 25 homeless veterans
7. Joplin Police Department Arrests April 24-25
8. Joplin Police Department warns of possible scam
9. Joplin Police Department Arrests April 23-24
10. Joplin man seriously injured when car overturns on Black Cat Road
Inside Joplin Obituaries
1. Nichole Barker
2. Erin Whitekiller
3. Randy VanGilder
4. Sharon Smith
5. John Bach
6. Wayne Wendt
7. Timothy Stubblefield
8. Wilma Cantrell
9. Ritzy Stokesberry
10. Alan Bogle
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