Youve probably wondered who this strange guy is that suddenly popped up in Tuesdays sports section.

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 17, 2006

Well, that&8217;s me. I&8217;m your new sports editor.

After four days on the job, I have felt more welcome by the community and more valued by my coworkers than anywhere else I&8217;ve been in my brief career in the business.

For example, during my last job I went to a school to cover a story during my first week on the beat, where I was greeted with a &8220;What are you doing here?&8221;, followed by a &8220;I don&8217;t know why you bother to cover us,&8221; from the school&8217;s secretary.

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Over the course of the last few days I&8217;ve received nothing but warm greetings and smiling faces on each assignment I&8217;ve covered, and I pledge to do a good-enough job for your faces to remain that way.

Thus far I&8217;ve spent a lot of time getting used to the way things operate here in Natchez, as I had never worked at a daily prior to coming here.

I&8217;ve found the transition far smoother than I would have expected, and I hope you have found these first few sections up to the standards my predecessor,

Adam Daigle

, set for the sports section.

I have plenty of plans for this sports section, and I feel that with the help of my sports reporter, Rick Breland, we can bring a new flavor to these pages while keeping the same features you have come to know and love.

I feel Rick brings a fierce passion for covering his beat and making sure everything that needs coverage gets it.

My passion is not only to cover my beat, but also to help the readers better understand why and how something is happening, whether it be with Natchez High School or the Dallas Cowboys. That is what sports editors should spend more time focusing on &045; helping the readers and fans better understand and enjoy the product they are viewing. I&8217;ve spent much of the past year reading takes from various national sportswriters I respect, and they all reflected that view.

Far too often, sports editors either head straight in to a job looking to cause trouble, or take a timid approach in avoiding controversial topics.

I promise not to stir up trouble, but I also promise to take big issues seriously in covering this area.

Take this to the bank &045; Rick and I will provide you with the best sports coverage possible.

Tim Cottrell is sports editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached by phone at 601-445-3632 or by email at