Two steps forward leads me back

By Staff
Jonathan Willis
More than three and a half years after I wrote my first column for the Franklin County Times, here I sit, doing it all over again.
So much has changed since that first column, yet it feels eerily similar in many ways.
At the time I began writing here in 2004, I was just a few weeks away from getting married and just beginning to put my college degree to use. I didn't know much about anything, including journalism.
The only thing that I was sure of was that I enjoyed covering news and trying to tell those stories to our readers.
I remember sitting down to write my first column and wondering, and worrying, what I should write about?
Should I just write about something off the wall and not too personal or should I just open up with all sorts of things about myself?
I didn't know what people wanted to read about. Since then, I am still not sure.
I have come to realize that some readers often confuse columns and news stories. I am a firm believer that I, as well as all writers, should keep their opinions and biases out of all stories no matter what. Unless, of course, that opinion is a favorable one for the Alabama Crimson Tide.
But, columns are free game and should be about anything a writer wants.
Over the years I have heard people complain that they don't care what somebody does in their personal life and it shouldn't be in the paper.
But, I have also heard from many people who love to read those things and want writers to open up more.
That is just a matter of personal opinion or preference.
What is not open for debate is how to cover news stories. One important aspect of a community newspaper is the ability to tell stories and offer information that our readers need to know. There are some more in depth things I hope we can look at in the near future, but we do not want to lose touch of our community and its needs.
I am looking forward to the things ahead for northwest Alabama and the possibilities that means for Franklin County.

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