I have passed the mark of being the Editor for The Manning Times for a few months now. I had no idea how much this job would teach me about our community, our neighbors, and how the very fact that Clarendon County is a living breathing entity in and of itself. There are many working parts of the system that make it thrive and prosper. Every person who lives here can make a difference in some way if they apply themselves. Just the physical act of picking up a piece of trash on the street and disposing of it properly is a step towards making our beloved communities look better. That shows pride and integrity in a person to improve the conditions of the area that they are in without being asked to.
Since childhood, I have read the Manning Times and always enjoyed the “hometown” feel of it. Every newspaper, I would read it from front to back and see what was going on and if anyone that I knew would be in the paper. I'm sure that it was rare not to at least recognize a face or a name in every copy. I always enjoyed seeing pictures of various locations, such as the courthouse lawn, or at one of the schools and be able to pinpoint where the photographer was standing to take the shot.
The biggest draw for me is that the newspaper stays relevant to our community. Rarely do you see national news about anything and everything that the large tv networks report about. While worldwide and national occurrences are important, there are so many venues to hear about it to the point that it is extremely over-reported. Turn your TV to CNN, watch it for an hour, then turn to another network. You will see the exact same videos, and almost identical descriptive words, to the point that you wonder if there is actually one corporation who is writing similar scripts for so many news channels.
Our job here at The Manning Times is to gather stories and news that otherwise would never be heard about other than through word of mouth. We focus on what is going on here in our little piece of our state and do our best to let others know through our paper and Manning Live. But being a small staffed newspaper, we can't attend every gathering or sporting event. My job here as editor also requires me to be the reporter. Other than the occasional intern that volunteers through local high schools, I am the sole reporter on staff. I attend as many as I can, but to cover each one is impossible. Because of that, we have to rely on the community at times to let us know what is going on in order to report it.
If a situation arises that the public needs to know, such as a series of break-ins in a particular neighborhood, local law enforcement has gone above and beyond to get the word out, either through social media or contacting us to be sure to inform the public as a Public Service Announcement. Knowing about events like this and many others allows us to prepare should it happen to us in the future.
On the other side of that coin, if something positive happens, we should be proud and want to share that with the public too. There's always that one kid that someone may have known many years ago and lost contact with, who is now grown up and graduating from high school or college. Or that neighborhood kid we remember always riding their bikes or skateboards in the driveway who is now married and just had a new baby.
Life does tend to get in the way sometimes. We get tied up with our own lives that we gradually lose contact with so many people that we were close to as kids and young adults. I have people who I consider to be friends that still live and work in or near Clarendon County. I cannot remember the last time that I saw them or had a conversation. But as soon as I see them in a store or gas station, good memories seem to flood back in.
So, the next time that you or someone in your family or neighborhood does something amazing, let us know. Events such as graduations, winning an award or trophy, anniversaries, new babies, a beautiful flower garden and the list goes on. Those moments in life are what make it worth living and can possibly make the day of someone who recently thought about that person that they used to know. Together, we can show our hometown pride to everyone.