Wishing Anderson County, and myself, a happy anniversary

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By Meaghan Downs

Inserted in your newspaper this Wednesday are the traditional two-year anniversary gifts: cotton and china.
Not really.
Please don’t go searching for cotton tufts or delicate china dishes tucked behind your sports section.
Unless we have unusual coupons for all of our readers this week, they’re not there.
Saturday marks my two-year anniversary of working at The Anderson News.
In the lifespan of the average toddler raging through his terrible 2’s, I’ve learned to make Lawrenceburg and The Anderson News my home.
I’ve scribbled through about 20 reporter’s notebooks, and those are the ones easily within reach at my desk.
Side note: if anyone has a creative crafting idea to repurpose used reporter’s notebooks, I’d greatly appreciate any Pinterest aficionados out there.  
I save every reporter’s notebook, not only for my own records, but as a professional diary of the places I’ve been, the people I’ve interviewed, even the more than 24 city council meetings and special-called meetings I’ve attended.
If ink could talk, those wrinkled pages would probably complain about the arbitrary abbreviations that I scrawl in pidgin journalist shorthand.
To commemorate the two years since I packed up all my meager belongings and moved to Kentucky sight unseen, here’s an anniversary gift (not those reporter’s notebooks) from me to you:
Your community newspaper is important.
You’re reading this column right now, so you must place enough value on the newspaper to take a few moments away from your computer, your phone or the needs of your family.  
“But Meaghan,” you think as your eyes wander down this column to see where exactly my point is, “You’re required to say that. You work for the newspaper.”
That is true. I do work for the newspaper.
But here’s another truth: there is no other media forum so dedicated to serving our community here in Anderson County than the newspaper.
We’re committed to fairness.
We’re committed to photographing week to week those Anderson County students, volunteers and public servants that make our community a better place.
We’re dedicated to keeping those in power accountable.
We’re dedicated to producing a product that is not only well worth 75 cents for a single copy, but is vital to keeping our readers abreast of issues that directly affect them even if those issues make them uncomfortable.
My job is to be fair, not to rock readers into a lullaby of complacency.  
My job is to present varied aspects of life in Anderson County, those stories about people and places that may make you look at them differently.
One of the first things Editor Ben Carlson told me when I first started working at the newspaper was to find interesting stories.
The concept of something being “interesting” can be frustratingly vague.
Combining tomatoes and chocolate ice cream is “interesting.”  A documentary about the puppeteer behind Sesame Street’s Elmo could be “interesting.”
I choose to think about “interesting” as a word implying bottomless curiosity, a prerequisite for anyone wishing to enter the media profession.
Photographing Saffell Street third graders on Career Day is interesting.
Tiptoeing on the side of the highway to get to the scene of a car accident is interesting.
And The Anderson News is interesting.
You may not always agree (especially on the editorial pages).
The paper may even make you angry.
But it’s always interesting.
So happy anniversary, Anderson County. It’s been interesting, and I know you’ll continue to be interesting (in a good way) for weeks and months to come.

Meaghan Downs can be reached via e-mail at mdowns@theandersonnews.com or through Twitter at @ANewsMDowns.