Get Adobe Flash player


Op-ed, blogs and columns

Support Freedom Of The Press At The Community Level


By Dan Darrington 
My wife is a gardener, and a very good one I’m glad to say. She has surrounded our screened porch with many colorful flowers and shrubs. Also there is a hummingbird feeder as well as a feeder with birdseed. Her butterfly bush is just that. Many of those little guys dine there and give us much enjoyment. Our backyard is alive with birds and butterflies of all sizes, shapes, colors and songs.
One of the many pleasures we enjoy is sitting on that porch in the mornings with a steaming cup of coffee, reading our newspaper. We’ve done it for years. Many people still enjoy reading the paper. Next time you’re at the Waffle House on Sunday morning, look around; you might see someone with their face in a paper.
But today that pastime is in jeopardy! The newspaper industry seems to be going the way of old generals and defeated politicians; it is just fading away. Many papers have lost significant amounts of readers and younger people now get their news (if they get any at all) from the Internet.
Prior to the age of computers, our major sources of news were newspapers and TV, most of which are owned by the same people. But today people have many choices and newspapers, in general, are losing! Some say that in the near future a printed press will be no more. I hope that does not happen. Most big city papers, I believe, are skewered toward a somewhat socialist agenda. But if you know that, you can read between the lines and still enjoy reading a paper. There’s always sports, the financial page, entertainment info and crossword puzzles, jumble, bridge, your horoscope and, for those of you who call yourselves Progressives, there’s always the funnies!
Freedom of the Press was so important to our Founding Fathers that they put it in the very first amendment to our Constitution. That first amendment also gives us our freedom of speech, freedom of and from religion, the right to assemble peacefully and the right to redress our grievances.
So, as you see, a free press, not controlled by the government, was paramount in the minds of old Thomas Jefferson and his buddies.
But the newspaper business has changed greatly since those wise and brave Americans put those remarkable words on paper. Small newspapers have been gobbled up by huge corporations and conglomerates. There are not many independent newspapers left like the ones old T.J. and the boys envisioned. A newspaper should be the eyes, ears and pulse of and for the community and people it serves.
To do that a paper should air opinions of its readers. But most papers won’t do that unless that opinion parallels their own. Try getting your non-socialist opinion in a big city newspaper. Ain’t gonna happen! Which brings me to the point of this writing.
I wonder how many people in Pickens County realize what a treasure you have in this newspaper you are now reading! This paper prints letters from its readers expressing opinions on literally anything and everything. Some letters are from regulars who have opposing views on various subjects. They remind me of little verbal catfights, played out on the pages of this paper. They’re entertaining and, on some rare occasions, even meaningful.
So I say to you my fellow citizens, if you feel strongly about some issue that has been festering in your gullet for a long time, write down your thoughts and send ’em in! This paper will give it serious consideration and, if it’s not vulgar, nasty or slanderous, you have a good chance of sharing it with your neighbors. Sometimes it feels good to get it off your chest.
This paper has not yet been gobbled up by Mr. Big and I hope it never is. You should feel that way too.
I don’t know what this paper’s political philosophy is and I certainly don’t agree with all their editorial opinions, but that’s the way it’s supposed to be, “Different strokes for different folks.”
So I urge you to buy this paper, advertise when you can and patronize their advertisers, because you’ll miss it if it goes away or is consumed by some big city press.
[Darrington is an occasional contributor to this paper through letters and columns and a regular Progress reader.]

Other Voices

Other Voices From the Community and across the region


Life Coach offers advice - On 15-year-olds dating 20-year-olds; handling religious e-mails


Pickens County Budget Meetings, October 21-23. Be There. By Joe Kelly



The Biggest Mistakes Parents Make - By National Parenting expert and author John Rosemond.






Why We’re Still Working To Stop Obamacare -- By Rep. Tom Graves and Rep. Doug Collins



An Affront to the Constitution Right in Our Backyard -- A member of discusses some frightening emergency powers that a county government can invoke.


A firsthand look at helping the people of Africa -- A retired Peace Corps volunteer now living in Talking Rock discusses the role of sending aid to Africa.


Pondering the Trials of Summer Gardening --I no longer scoff at the idea of a $64 tomato. By Lynn Turner



The Curse of the Grand Dogs? -- Along with the grandchildren come the dogs. By David Altman.


Thoughts from a BRAG Cyclist -- Progress Contributor ponders pedaling.


Is Your Senior Heading to College? No? Maybe?- Life Coach Vicki Roberts offers advice for parents and students deciding what will follow high school.

Film Production in Pickens County Economic Blockbuster or Flop? - Pickens County Economic Development Director Gerry Nechvatal discusses impact of Eastwood film coming to Pickens.

My thoughts on the retail vacancies in Jasper - Downtown Merchant Royce Hayley says high rents are hampering business here.

Reaching the "New Normal" - Associate Broker Prudential Georgia Realty talks about the current state of the real estate market.

Governor's water plan ignores conservation - Hear what Joe Cook, executive director of the Coosa River Basin Initiative, has to say about Nathan Deal's new $300 million water plan.

Sports Fanatic on the Death of an Icon -- Monday Night Football (published Dec. 15th, 2011) 

Be careful when following advice from Dr. Google -- By Dr. Lyn Lewis. A local vet offers cautionary tales of pet owners who relied on internet advice rather than professional help when diagnosing and treating animal ailments.


North Ga. Environmental Health Director discusses swimming pool safety -- "You may be surprised to learn that the swimming pool serving your residential development is not inspected by any authority for health. Published June 22, 2011

Nelson Mayor Comments on Police Protection -- Why should concerned citizens buy security systems and firearms instead of having the benefit of the one full-time and two part-time officers they are taxed for? While under my direction the police covered peak times and were very visible, says Mayor David Leister


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Pet Food -- Local veterinarian Lyn Lewis chimes in on what to feed your animals.


What is Lent? -- The Rev. Rob Bruce, Pastor at Tate UMC, offers thoughts on the yearly Christian period, typically observed by giving up something. But Rev. Bruce says for this year, to add something to your life.


National Spay Day USA -- Local Vet says, "We need to be responsible for the pets we consider ours.  Please spay and neuter your pets before the age of 8 months."

High profile legislation responds to citizens' needs - By State Senator Steve Gooch

From Hard-Head, with love - By Bettina Huseby

North Ga. Vet offers advice to pet owners; Handling Pet Emergencies - By Dr. Lyn Lewis, (published, January 27, 2011)

Help our school system help students, says Pickens Tea Party  -- By Nancy Davis, published, January 20, 2011

Emerging Healthcare invites you to change your life in 2011 -- New programs offered by local group. Published in print January 13, 2011.

Make Your House sell faster -- By Real Estate columnist Ron Barnes of Prudential Realty. 

Have a family revolution in 2011 -- parenting expert offers list of ideas for new year. Published in print January 6, 2011.

Support freedom of the press at the community level by Dan Darrington, published in print December 30th, 2010