FRAZIER: The value of a qualified watchdog

Published 4:00 am Saturday, January 21, 2023

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

How many of us have seen a statue of three monkeys — one with its hands over its eyes, the second with its hands over its ears and the third with its hands over its mouth?

The imagery displayed by the little primates sends out a message that I guess could be interpreted in a variety of ways, one of which could be ignorance is bliss. I, however, see this as a statement of apathy — a lack of interest or concern, which is where we could wind up whether we like it or not — if we do not support our local newspapers.

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Some of you may be thinking this column is just a ploy to get you to subscribe to The Post (though it would be great if you did) but that is not the reasoning for my claim.

Oftentimes, when I hear complaints about how newspapers aren’t what they used to be, I don’t argue. They are not. And it’s not only because the industry has changed; it’s also because people have changed.

We now have this craving for instant gratification, which has come with the rise of social media.

Now it seems whoever has a cell phone camera can instantly, not only be a photographer, but with a picture or video taken or recorded and posted to Facebook or any other type of social media platform, they in turn become a reporter.

I say this facetiously.

Because those who are posting and sharing are bound by no ethical constraints. Also, sometimes photos and videos do not convey the whole story — leading to that very popular word, misinformation.

And with the rise of social media, advertising dollars, the lifeblood of a newspaper, begin to dry up.

Since 2004, 1,800 newspapers have closed in the United States.

Let me tell you what that means. In those towns, cities and communities, there is no accountability.

Who without the likes of a newspaper is there to hold the city and county governments to task?

And can you imagine if there was no accurate coverage provided for local law enforcement?

I shudder to think what more could have ensued had there been no Vicksburg Post to report on Rafael McCloud, the escapee from the Warren County jail.

McCloud was on the loose and had murdered one person after breaking out, and because of solid reporting from The Post, a family who lived on Fort Hill took heed and purchased a firearm shortly after reading the news.

Thank heavens, as the recent purchase of the gun saved their lives when McCloud broke into their home.

People need to have solid information as to what is going on, both the good and the not-so-good, in their communities.

I don’t know about you, but I want to hear, see and be able to have qualified professionals tell me what is happening in my community.

Don’t you?

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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