The Kudzu Kronicle

Because not all Southerners are the same

Tag: Valdosta

They’re real journalists — and they put out a damn paper

Let me be clear: I am not a journalist. I have a column that appears in a newspaper once a week. As I’ve told people, it’s like a movie “based on a true story” — and it’s somewhere between 1 and 99 percent true every time.

However, I did spend more than 20 years as a real journalist. I didn’t expose Iran-Contra. I didn’t bring down Nixon, and I didn’t uncover Clinton’s mess with Monica Lewinsky — although I had to read way too many stories about it and had to read the whole Starr Report when we printed it at the Ledger-Enquirer.

But, still, I was still a real journalist. I laid out thousands of pages and edited many thousands of stories at the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer and Americus Times-Recorder about murders, rezonings, business developments, new laws, council meetings, new plays, you name it. I laid out upcoming events, sports schedules, TV lineups, food inspections, church calendars and listings for civic and self-help groups. I tweaked the kerning on three lines of the NFL standings so it didn’t throw off your entire Standings & Scoreboard agate on page 2. I covered high school and college athletic contests, snapped thousands of photos and interviewed famous coaches like Vince Dooley and Dan Reeves, along with celebrities like Charlie Daniels and the legendary Bo Duke — er, I mean John Schneider. Continue reading

Twenty-five years ago, the ink got in my veins for real in Valdosta

It’s hard to believe, but 25 years ago this month I became a full-time newspaperman, taking an entry-level sportswriting job down in Valdosta, Georgia — the high school football mecca just above the Florida state line.

Granted, I’d had part-time newspaper gigs for a couple of years before that as a sportswriter in Americus and Montezuma, but Valdosta was the first real job. It was owned by a company called Thomson Newspapers back then, which had a reputation for being cheap and paying terribly — which I found to be completely, 100 percent true.

But those couple of years in Valdosta were where I truly got my on-the-job training in such newspaper basics as pagination, eating at 24-7 diners, cussing and trash-can kicking. Valdosta truly is a beautiful community with some small-town charm and big-city conveniences, but not too much of either. And there’s nothing like a football Friday night in Valdosta, where I spent an awful lot of time at Martin Stadium and Hyder-Bazemore Field.

That was a long time ago, and I’ve forgotten more than I remember about those days, but there are a lot of folks that I won’t forget from those days, including: Continue reading

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