Loss of a good friend, good journalist

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal sports editor

There are two things this world is suffering a dire shortage of &045; good friends and good journalists.

The world lost both Thursday night.

Email newsletter signup

Melakikki Edwards, a former freelance reporter for the Times-Journal and an aspiring photographer, died in a car accident in Tuscaloosa.

When I first got here last March, she was a holdover from the previous sports editor’s tenure.

Melakikki and I immediately had a misunderstanding. We had a few phone conversations before meeting each other in person and had already built up opinions about one another. It wasn’t necessarily a negative thing, but let’s just say we were both shocked the first time we were in the same room together.

Eventually we became very close friends, even though she still thought I was mean and I still thought she was mouthy. Somehow it worked, because if you knew Melakikki, you knew she found a way to make the best of everything.

People looked at me as something of a mentor to her. Honestly, I learned more from her than she did from me.

Nearly every coach I talked to raved about her. I thought they were more impressed with her face than with her reporting ability.

But Melakikki had this way of connecting with people on a personal level without being intrusive. That’s rare in this business.

The most important thing I learned from Melakikki was friendship. I learned how to be a better one and how to let someone be a friend to me.

Our newspaper was only a stepping stone to her ultimate dream. Melakikki wanted to be the next Gordon Parks, a groundbreaking black photographer. She had every ounce of talent and determination to become as good or better, she was just seeking the opportunity.

She went through more in 31 years than some people will go through in a life three times as long. It was her strength that allowed her to keep going.

It’s my best memory of her and my reminder to think of life as something that always gets better.

George L. Jones is sports editor for The Selma Times-Journal. He may be reached at 410-1744 or george.jones@selmatimesjournal.com.