Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Editor’s Notes: Director’s Series, Great Hair and Gridiron Glory

Christy S. Coleman, executive director of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, chats with Shannon Lanier. Lanier is a veteran TV host, author, social media influencer and sixth great-grandson of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. (Chris Six/WYDaily)

Wednesday night I had the opportunity to attend the final installment of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation’s six-part Director’s Series at Jamestown Settlement.

It featured Executive Director Christy S. Coleman in conversation with veteran TV host, author and social media influencer Shannon Lanier, who happens to be the sixth great-grandson of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings.

Chris Six, Managing Editor

Coleman is a great conversationalist, as is Lanier, and the time flew by. My better half, an archivist, historian, and genealogist, was in her element. Her late father, who had a long-held fascination about Jefferson and, in particular, his relationship with Hemings, was surely smiling when she shook Lanier’s hand after the talk.

In an era where the controversial aspects of our history are either being removed from the public square or swept under the carpet, it was reassuring to hear from a journalist and descendant of one of our revered Founding Fathers that the truth should always be paramount.

Equally interesting for me was his take on modern journalism and its tendency to be negative. While we both strive to include positive stories in our work, he reminded the audience that news organizations air, print and post what sells. Thus, ultimately, the power lies in the news consumer’s hands.

And if you missed out on this year’s Director’s Series, Coleman revealed it will return in 2023, now with sponsorship from TowneBank. You can learn all about who is slated to take part here.

Great Hair

The comment was “great hair.” Of course, I heard it first as “gray hair,” so I was slow to take the compliment, but coming from a local salon owner, I have to accept the opinion as the gospel.

This all took place last week after one of the Hometown Radio Interviews conducted by Andy Harris of 92.3FM The Tide

As a journalist, I particularly enjoy when Andy has guests in the office for these interviews because they offer me the opportunity to meet and connect with the community. And, of course, the free compliments.

But I also love the programs the Tide and WYDaily are involved with, like the Hometown Radio Interviews, Strictly Business, and the Shop Local Boost Pop Ups, because they support our local business community.

What is community journalism? Certainly, there is the “bad news” aspect — crime, tragedy, and the like. But community journalism, done right, is more about the good stuff. Our tool is to tell stories about our friends, our neighbors, and our local businesses, and our goal is to support the communities which we serve.

Since 2005, some 2,500 local newspapers have closed, and it has been clearly documented that places that have lost their local news outlets — termed news deserts — lose a sense of community. Of course, the Historic Triangle is a unique community bound tighter than most, but it also isn’t a news desert. Because covering this community is our job.

William & Mary in action at Zable Stadium against Villanova Saturday, Nov. 12. (Chris Six/WYDaily)

Gridiron Glory

Sports are a big part of my life and would be even if I hadn’t started my career as a sportswriter.

I look back fondly to sitting on the stoop during warm summer nights in Philadelphia listening to the Phillies on the radio with my Grandpop, or traveling up to State College for Penn State games with my family, or countless trips to the Spectrum to watch the Flyers.

When I move to a new place, trips to local minor league sporting events and college athletics are always on my to-do list, so it is no surprise I made it out to Zable Stadium last weekend for the W&M game versus Villanova.

It was a beautiful day for November, sitting without a jacket watching the Tribe dominate the Wildcats. Back home, we jokingly know ‘Nova as “the little school that could” for knocking off Georgetown basketball for a national championship in the 1980s. Of course, nowadays it is a perennial basketball power. Lessor known is that as recently as 2009, it also won an FCS championship.

Not so this year. At 9-1, the eighth-ranked Tribe is looking to take at least a share of the Colonial Athletic Association title in Richmond Saturday in The Capital Cup Game against the Spiders.

It was a good time in a beautiful setting and a great game-day experience. It is easy to overlook the gems you have right in your own backyard. If you haven’t been to a game, you should definitely put it on the to-do list. I know I’ll be back.

Chris Six is the Managing Editor of WYDaily. Email him at chris@localdailymedia.com.

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