I got my start in Journalism in January of 2005 when I took an internship with the Millbrook Independent, a tiny little weekly that has since been bought-out and all but neutered of its once grand vision and work. For that paper, I got my first taste of what it means to be a Community Journalist – I ran down stories both big and small, both and exciting and dull, and covered each with the same attention and excitability. I ran a delivery route for the paper, just so I could make enough money to justify driving a county over each day, and still barely made enough to maintain my alcohol habit. But it was good work and good experience and, from there, I was able to move fluidly through the Alabama News Machine.
After the well dried up in Millbrook, I started writing for the Tri-County Gazette – now known as the Alabama Gazette – which, unbeknownst to me, was little more than a white supremacist rag that printed a shitty little newspaper once a week. Honestly, it was and still is a Propaganda Organ for the Right Wing – the owner paid me $7 per page, as I was tasked with laying out and designing the newspaper each week on top of my reporting duties. I kept my head down for a time and got the job done until I was tasked with writing a hit piece against then-presidential candidate Barack Obama. To be sure, I have no qualms about writing a piece on any politician’s failures, but what I was being asked to do was tell full-blown lies – my article was supposed to discuss Obama’s plans to implement Sharia Law in line with his Muslim beliefs; to discuss his plans to establish “death panels” and eliminate borders. I quietly packed up my desk – and I do mean my entire desk, which I loaded into the back of a truck and took to the Neighborhood Affairs Desk in my bedroom – and never returned to the office. I ran into the publisher of that paper a few years back, when I was writing for the Tallassee Tribune, and she didn’t even recognize me…
The path gets convoluted after that – the newspaper business moves in throes and fits and the journalists who make up its armies are the inevitable victims of its spasms. I took freelance gigs, took on a few full-time newspaper gigs, taught music, did some technical and magazine writing work, and finally stumbled back into a regular newspaper job in November of 2018.
The work presented here – except for some of the columns and articles added from my days with the Tallassee Tribune/Wetumpka Herald/Eclectic Observer – are quite different from my work as a Professional Journalist. Objectivity has no place in these articles, nor does formal AP style writing or even good writing – this is a place to purge the overflow that has no place within the pages of Alabama’s Oldest Daily, the place I am now employed. I invited you to give it a read, spread it around, but never take it too seriously. Here’s to the news that unfit to print!