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All in the 'newspaper family'

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Last night I attended The Examiner Christmas party. As is the custom, publisher Ana Cosino shared some heartfelt comments about The Examiner’s triumphs and challenges of 2021, its future and about her “newspaper family.”

In The Examiner “work family,” we have a strong, common sense “Mom” in Ana. You may think that only a CEO or elected official needs to have Teflon skin but try putting out a community newspaper! The Examiner has an even-keeled “Dad” in editor Matt Ybarra, and how could he not be? Both his home and work family are predominantly female! He learned a long time ago to go with the flow.

Several Christmases ago, in her Mom-like wisdom, Ana included we extended family members at the Christmas party. It was eye-opening to meet my two newspapers siblings from “other mothers” who in the dead of night make sure what we write gets distributed to our readers. I learned that my “newspaper brother” Michael is more dedicated than the U.S. mail, sometimes braving wind, rain, snow and ice bringing The Examiner from Taylor to Grimes County. He is joined on his Tuesday night mission by my “newspaper sister,” Ms. Ina, who also delivers The Examiner to their designated locations.

Last night, I saw the depth of Michael’s dedication and commitment to the newspaper when he talked about missing his very first Tuesday night when hospitalized with COVID earlier this year. Who could blame him for that? But despite how critically ill he was, Michael was sicker in spirit because he wasn’t on-the-job delivering The Examiner.

I admit my bias about The Examiner and community newspapers in general. When I prepare “This Week in Grimes County,” it’s with reverence that I turn the pages of a 1970 or 1980 Examiner to see what was important to the residents of Grimes County then. The headlines and articles reveal the twists and turns, the wheeling and dealing, and why our cities, communities and county are what they are, or are not, in 2021. I just don’t trust that 50 years from now social media will provide the same feeling for history and our past that I find in the pages of those blue bound books.

Perhaps Rolling Fork, MS, publisher and editor Ray Mosby explains the value of community newspapers like The Examiner better than I.

He wrote, “News travels fast in a small town; bad news travels even faster, but all too often that ‘news’ is no such thing. All too often that ‘news’ is little more than rumor, sometimes made up out of whole cloth and at best some grain of truth exaggerated in its retellings vastly, and often alarmingly out of proportion. In a small town, readers expect their newspaper to separate the wheat from the chaff and then to ‘tell it like it is.’”

But back to where I started with my newspaper family…Mosby continued, “The community newspaper is not some monolithic entity; its editor (and publisher) is not some ivory towered ‘big shot.’ He or she is also a neighbor. He or she is one who goes to church with you or stops to chat in the grocery store or is always there to volunteer at community functions or stops to shake hands or just waves in passing.”

Thank you, Ray! I couldn’t have said it better myself. That IS my “work family” – in and of the community and willing to give more than anyone will ever know.

Connie Clements is a freelance reporter for the Navasota Examiner and award-winning columnist. She writes feature news articles on a weekly basis and an opinion column as the mood strikes her.