One of the most classic staples of print journalism is the letter to the editor.
Usually sent by members of the public to address the concerns of a community – whether it be about how something is represented or underrepresented in a publication – it allows individuals the opportunity to voice their opinions openly in the paper.
One thing that I can’t let go underrepresented is the notion that we must tell the people in our lives who truly make a difference that we appreciate them.
Today, I am writing my letter to the editor for a person very near and dear to not only myself, but to The Steele County Times as a whole – Deb Flemming.
Journalism lost a wonderful person and a talented professional last week when Deb passed away on Monday, March 14 during her battle with cancer.
In a short seven months since starting at The Steele County Times, I was blessed to be able to learn from such a highly regarded journalist every single day in all aspects of the job.
When I first started, I felt as though I had a sense of what being a journalist would be like.
What I was not prepared for was the crash course that would be lovingly referred to as “the school of Deb Flemming.”
“The goal is to learn something new every day. If I’m not learning something, it’s because I’m dead,” Deb would always say with a chuckle in the newsroom.
When I first heard those words, they almost felt like satire – a kind of saying that I wasn’t sure if we all were supposed to believe.
Looking back over the past seven months, I’m not sure there is a more perfect saying to fit the job description.
Every day that I write, I learn either a new word, a new phrase or even just subtle a new way to use punctuation.
There is no perfect way to write something, but there are countless different ways that you can change something to improve it, and that is what we must strive to learn as journalists.
While perfection may be unattainable, working your hardest to try and prove that statement wrong is where the magic comes from.
That was the standard that Deb set.
Nobody I know strived harder for journalistic perfection than Deb, and in my opinion, I don’t think anyone else came closer to it.
We’ll miss you, Deb.