Here is to Hayden Taylor. May he bring journalism to Brinkley, and new ideas to our industry.
I love this story by Stephen Steed of the Northwest Arkansas Democrat and Gazette, outlining plans of an ambitious 19-year-old bent on reviving a community newspaper that was almost lost to a fire last month. (I’m interested in the subject matter, of course, but Steed provides wonderful detail throughout and reveals a real empathy for the town and its people.)
Taylor confesses he has little journalism training. I am sure there was a day when I would have poo-pooed any plans of a precocious kid who says he will just get a couple books and learn how to do this reporting thing, but that day has passed. We need ambitious, audacious young people in this business more than we need book-learning. We have long passed being able to lean on dogma about the way things should be done.
I might question his decision to axe the opinion page (particularly since his dad is on the city council and stands to benefit from a lack of local opinion), but mine isn’t the last word on such things. I’m very sure Taylor — whose family has been in Brinkley for five generations — knows the community better than I.
Importantly, for me, Taylor says he understands his contemporaries lean on Facebook for their news. He says he doesn’t think that is good enough. That is very encouraging. Because it’s not good enough. And we should encourage any teenager who says as much and puts his money where his mouth is.
You go, Hayden Taylor. Best of luck with the Monroe County Herald.