Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Champion

I grew up reading Ralph McGill, Ed Danforth, and Furman Bisher in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and wanting to be a newspaper man. For a while, I became one, but as Robert Frost says, “Two roads diverged in a woods.” Still I have never lost my strong interest in newspapers, news, and journalism. Recently I have been paying attention to community newspapers, because the ones I see in the Atlanta area are better than ever. I have become a regular reader and admirer of DeKalb County’s The Champion.

As executor of my sister’s estate, I needed to run a legal notice to creditors and debtors to come forward. I was referred to The Champion, which provided this service at a very reasonable cost and with great efficiency, sending me ad sheets and a certified letter that I had met this legal requirement. Meanwhile, I began reading the newspaper, which is published weekly and dated on Friday. I usually pick up a copy at the DeKalb Medical Wellness Center, bargain workout facility, where I go three days a week, along with others who have survived a serious health crisis and are trying to prevent another one, as well as those with sense enough to take care of themselves without a near-death experience. The Champion is also available at various locations elsewhere around the county, and there is an on-line edition.

This week The Champion features special coverage of Five Years at War. On the front page Andy Phelan reports on the arrest of members of Atlanta Grandmothers for Peace, including a retired school teacher, who protested against the War in Iraq. Demonstrating in front of a midtown Atlanta U.S. Army Recruiting Station near Ponce de Leon, the grandmothers had been kicked out of the office after saying they wanted to enlist and being told they were “too old.” Another featured article, by Managing Editor Gale Horton Gay, brings the War in Iraq home to DeKalb County by telling of Decatur mother Pearl Lucas, who lost her son, Army Cpl. Victor Manuel Langarica, killed in a Baghdad Black Hawk helicopter crash along with 12 other American sons. Cpl. Langarica was a graduate of Druid Hills High School.

The current issue of The Champion includes articles about questionable absenteeism of DeKalb County members of the Georgia legislature, workshops on DeKalb safety, MARTA, and high school sports, as well as editorial columns, and sections on arts and entertainment, education, business, and health., and a special feature naming a DeKalb County citizen, in this case Redan High School teacher Sandy Purkett, “Champion of the Week.”

The Champion received the first place award for general excellence in its division at the 2007 Georgia Press Association annual convention in Savannah. Thanks to Publishers Earl and Carolyn Glenn for this outstanding community newspaper.

Copyright 2008 by William C. Cotter

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