All of our employees are winners

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 24, 2000

This week I had the honor of accepting an award for the lifestyle section of The Democrat. In Louisiana and Mississippi newspapers with a circulation of 10,000 to 45,000 our section won first place for layout and design.

As I look at the plaque with my name I am struck by the fact that it is incomplete; there are many names that should be included on the plaque and since they weren’t I will mention them here.

First, my editor, Stacy Graning who allows me to be a part-time lifestyle editor and who has never given up teaching me what the words fairness, responsibility and AP style mean.

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Our managing editor, Kevin Cooper, who is responsible for the art work on the three front pages that made up my submission for the contest. He manages to come up with creative and fun ideas on the spur of the moment, has worked diligently to teach me to use the Macintosh computer programs-which still amaze me-and has been an excellent teacher in the art of seeing both sides of an issue.

Our senior staff writer, Kerry Whipple. Not only does she cover the city of Natchez (yes, that means the election), she has helped me continually with my pages. And she has not despaired that I will eventually learn how to use a semicolon versus a colon correctly.

Our reporters, Nita McCann and Emily Whitten. These ladies cover more territory in a day than a door-to-door salesman and they also take more heat off the public than can be imagined. While I get to tell our readers all the good news such as, who got married, had a baby, made honor roll or graduated from college, these ladies have to give you both good news and bad news and do it on a daily basis.

Melanie Duncan, our new photographer who makes my life easy by taking great photos and by being polite to the people I send her to cover. Joey Martin, our sports editor, who keeps me up to date on games and students that I am interested in and also keeps me in good humor.

And so many more people who affect my section, from the advertising department to the press guys I cannot possibly name them all.

Oh, I know what a lot of you are saying. We are not perfect. We make mistakes; the difference is unlike some jobs our mistakes are made very public. Sometimes we are given incorrect information and sometimes we simply goof. Whenever possible we try to acknowledge a mistake and correct it.

And we have a responsibility to report both sides of an issue, whether we like it personally or not.

For example, one of the biggest subjects that has come up lately is the issue of teacher pay raises. Don’t worry, I already know how most people felt about this editorial. But I have to ask this question. If our editorial board had not run this, how many teachers would have spoken out, put their pay stubs on the table and explained to parents and others exactly why they needed and deserved a raise? Or would taxpayers only have an image of irate teachers waving signs and cursing at the Louisiana governor? Maybe now there is a clearer picture of how teachers spend what little &uot;off&uot; time they have and exactly what their pay is. Sometimes the end does justify the means.

There’s a reason this newspaper wins awards every year with the Mississippi Press Association, and whether you agree with everything we say or do, you have good reason to be proud of your newspaper.

Christina Hall is the lifestyle editor at The Democrat. She can be reached at 445-3549 or by e-mail at