Jason Davis: Moving into editor’s office quite a change

Sep. 02, 2013 @ 12:01 AM

After two weeks as editor of The Mountain Press, I’m beginning to accept a new version of normal.

Gone are the late nights of covering high school football, which I did as the paper’s sports editor for six years. In their place are never-ending deadlines for sections, columns, editorials, the decisions on what is or isn’t a story, and the general news-reporting direction of the paper.

It’s definitely a change.

And I hope readers will understand there is an obvious period of transition.

I always viewed Stan Voit, our previous editor, as a great newsroom leader.

He heard and considered the thoughts and feelings of others, while indelibly making his own mark on the newsroom.

Hopefully, one day I’ll make my own.

Newspapers are a changing business.

Their changes, much like the rest of society, have only been accelerated by the unstable economic times of the last five years.

Things are different in news now than the last time I was a news editor — then at the LaFollette Press in my hometown of LaFollette, just an hour and 15 minutes northeast of here.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t still make an impact by reporting our community’s news.

And that news isn’t always good.

In my time at LaFollette, as both a reporter and editor, we published stories about tragedy, controversy and corruption. Like the Press always has, we’ll continue to do that here.

Sometimes — almost daily — we receive tips about these issues. Please know that just because something isn’t seen in the next issue of the paper doesn’t mean we’re not working on it.

Unlike social media or talk among friends, we have to be careful what we say and be able to back it up with facts or official statements from involved parties.

Those sometimes take real effort and digging to find or get.

We’re working on several stories like that right now.

And, although most people — whether they admit it or not — like to read about scandals, that’s not what we’re out to get.

We readily accept submissions from the public — notes on items that are important to readers that we’re not staffed to cover — and usually, in due time, we’ll find a way to get them into the paper.

It’s always been a policy of mine to look for a way to get something into the paper rather than a reason to keep it out.

I’ll always try my best to be fair with you.

That doesn’t mean keeping an arrest or real estate transfer out of the paper. It does, however, mean I won’t be afraid to explain to you why it’s going in.

I’m a resident of Sevier County, and I have been for six years now.

My son has lived his entire life as a Sevier County resident. Our home is in Seymour. 

My wife is a teacher at a local public school.

We’re Sevier Countians, and we, like you, want what’s best for our families and our neighbors.

I will try my best to keep The Mountain Press a reflection of the people it covers. After all, that’s what community newspapers are about.