Made to Matter: Local news and human dignity

Published 5:13 pm Friday, July 28, 2017


My last column documented new beginnings for me in “post-grad” life. Now I would like to document a key treasure in journalism that I have been uncovering. It’s no discovery, for it was always there—or they were always there.

It’s people.

What I have recognized in my short time so far with the Clanton Advertiser is that people are what make a good story.

It’s you — our readers, story subjects, customers and yes, even our writers who work to keep you informed about community whereabouts.

People want to read about people.

In my time meeting people and interviewing individuals for stories, I have realized they are the most precious subjects.

By grace, we have been made special creatures.

The people I have met here in Chilton County are warm and inviting. Many lead simple yet impactful lives with a reach that extends farther than they realize.

Local businesses and nonprofits strive to serve individuals and honor them with regard for the immense worth they have as human beings. Many recognize them as creatures created in the very image of God.

And it’s their pleasure to do so.

There’s an older gentleman I see almost every day who never fails to put a smile on my face and an extra skip to my step. All he does is greet me with a wave as big as his smile and ask me how I am.

Last week, five little girls joined my lunch table at a park. They simply walked up to me, took a seat by my side and started talking. We talked for 25 minutes.
Even people I’ve talked with during an interview or business introduction have expressed kindness that extends beyond mere professional friendliness.

There’s a special “people” theme I’ve uncovered in observing interaction with news here.

It’s human dignity.

Whether it’s challenged by a tragic crime or accident or celebrated with outreach programs and honor ceremonies, human dignity has been revealed as a sort of sustenance of a contented life.

The news stories that receive the most attention often deal with human dignity one way or another. And readers’ responses can be powerful.

For example, stories about crimes that degrade someone’s humanity are met often with reader responses of prayer and support for those affected by the crime. Sometimes outrage.

Many readers assist the justice departments and speed the process of establishing good where something was very wrong. With their support, a victim is honored and dignity wins.

A story that celebrates a person’s accomplishments, including selfless or heroic deeds or service to others, is also met with support that promotes the dignity given humanity.

Your responses make a difference.

From just one writer alongside several others, to our many readers, I say thank you. It’s a pleasure doing business with you as we both serve this community I’m coming quickly to love.