James Jones: Happy Anniversary to me

Published 10:08 am Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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Memorial Day is a holiday that will always mean something.

Six years ago, I officially became News Editor of The Selma Times-Journal. A lot of personal and professional growth took place during this time. I’m now the Managing Editor. 

Personally, after years of trying, I finally lost weight. I can thank being in Dallas County for that. 

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Back at the Biloxi Sun Herald during football season, all I did was sit in the press box and write game stories. Sitting around a lot and eating often leads to gaining weight.

Whether I was covering Southside, Keith or Selma, I had to take photos of games. Trying to get an action shot of Derick Smith making a catch or Terrell Lumpkin running down the sidelines is challenging. (I confess, Doug Horton and Martina West often were a big help with game photos). 

Professionally, I’ve been collecting awards since my arrival. Through five years, I’ve won 14 awards from the Alabama Press Association. While I’ll always be proud of the Pulitzer prize-winning team in Biloxi, I always felt other people made those decisions. At least in Selma, it’s a fair fight.

The Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee means something to me. I always enjoy the event and seeing Selma receive national attention during the first weekend in March. I am anxious to see how Chris Rock and Steven Spielberg will portray Selma in the Martin Luther King biopic.

I spent 26 years as a sportswriter and sports editor, but politics always interests me. I’m grateful for the contacts with U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, Rep. Prince Chestnut, and State Sen. Robert Stewart, all of whom I can contact at a minute’s notice and they respond.

Covering the Selma City Council, Valley Grande City Council and Dallas County Commission meetings are equally important. All three governing bodies have been cooperative.

Another thing I am proud of is the fair opportunities I give to schools, organizations, and businesses. 

If a Morgan Academy athlete deserves a Player of the Year award, they will receive it. The same goes for Selma, Southside, Meadowview Christian School, Keith, Dallas County and Ellwood Christian Academy.  

Phi Beta Sigma and Zeta Phi Beta hold a special place in my heart, but Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Omega Psi Phi, Kappa Alpha Psi and Sigma Gamma Rho get equal coverage. 

City attorney Major Madison and Selma City Councilman Sam Randolph both called me a fair reporter, and I appreciate that. 

I’m looking forward to another year of serving the residents of Selma and Dallas County with the Selma Times-Journal. 

James Jones is the managing editor of The Selma Times-Journal. He can be reached at james.jones@selmatimesjournal.com.