Thursday, May 26, 2016
Marilyn and the Monroe County Reporter are Divorced
MARILYN AND THE MONROE COUNTY REPORTER ARE DIVORCED!
Friends, I have severed my relationship with the Monroe County Reporter and you will no longer see my Unfair and Unbalanced Column there. However, I would like to ask if my column made you laugh, made you glad, or made you mad as hell, please follow me on my Unfair and Unbalanced Facebook Page that connects to my Blog.
Two years ago when I retired, the Editor of the Monroe County Reporter, Forsyth, GA, asked me to write an Op Ed Column presenting the liberal perspective of events and issues in his very right wing newspaper. He felt that his readers wanted a “balance.” Having never been a professional writer, just a hobbyist, I agreed in spite of all the warnings by my friends about this editor.
I threw my heart and soul into writing creative, fresh, columns. My readership grew and I received glowing comments from people everywhere I went in Monroe County. I spent two, sometimes three days doing research and writing my column. Oh, did I tell you I did it all for free? My compensation was a free subscription to the newspaper that I had never cared to read in the first place.
So why did I do it? Because I felt Democrats and liberals always get short shrift in print media. To my knowledge, I was the ONLY liberal Op Ed writer in a Georgia weekly newspaper. Albeit a small voice, it did give some people satisfaction to know they were not the only person in our community that shared their values. There are always two sides to a story and people deserve to hear both. I wish I had a quarter for every time someone told me, “I don’t always agree with you but I enjoy your columns.” One outspoken Republican told me, “I enjoy your columns. I don’t agree with hardly anything you say but will defend your right to say it to the death.”
I liken my relationship to the MCR to a marriage. Some people were saying the marriage wouldn’t last a month. We took our vows. He promised to never edit my submission and that he understood I would not participate in a point-counterpoint. After the honeymoon period, little disagreements started popping up when my column would not be printed in the paper. The Editor would say, “I just needed more space.” I felt not printing me was the highest form of editing. We separated several times. Realizing this may not be a marriage made in heaven, I opened a secret savings account of sorts…a Blog, that I used for my column archives and shared with people who mostly did not live in Monroe County.
After nearly a year, MCR found a like-minded friend that represented everything I was not, who based his column on my creative work. When I agreed on this marriage, I expected lots of disagreement, but I did not expect it to be so vicious within the household. The MCR said he would take care of it. Things improved except for my occasional complaint concerning the blatant racist statements by his friend. I was embarrassed to be that closely situated to comments of that nature.
Like any marriage in distress, it started with a bunch of little things and then culminated in a big thing! First, my column was not printed. Then, he accused me of infidelity due to my Facebook and Blog. He said this would cause reader dissatisfaction for the MCR. I pointed out that I had been doing it for two years and it appeared the paper was doing quite nicely. I reluctantly made the concession to post on my FB page and Blog after Wednesday. I thought we had made up, especially after he contacted me on Monday morning indicating he was going to print my column submitted the week before and never printed. Surprise, Surprise! MCR said again he needed more space. I considered letting it go, but when I asked him if in the future he would be fair to me and alternate between “bumping” his friend and I, he would not even answer the question. So, I filed for divorce. On Wednesday when I read his friend’s column and it was crafted on my column two weeks ago, and when the MCR told me a “back and forth” disagreement was good for MCR, the divorce was finalized.
Unlike most divorces, in this divorce you can remain friends with both of us. Now that I don’t have the constraints of print media, I plan on taking on other issues and keeping content fresh and timely. Since FB allows for comments, I’m looking forward to open discussions about issues of concern for Monroe County, our State, and our Nation. I’m sure I’ll throw in a few “It can only happen to Marilyn” posts. Please join me by “Liking” my Unfair and Unbalanced FB Page. We’re going to have a long and crazy summer!