Sunday, March 25, 2012

"Chronicles" Changes

Message from Joe…
Changes to Tillman County Chronicles
It has been a few weeks since I have posted anything to this site. There are several things that I want to write about in coming weeks, but I have been occupied recently with other projects. Updates to “Tillman County Chronicles” have gone on hold.

Background of the “Chronicles”
"Tillman County Chronicles" began in January 2009.
I have been a member of the Tillman County Historical Society’s board of directors since 2005, and I served a two-year term as president of the TCHS Board from 2009 to 2011.
I have always been interested in local and area history and I know that lots of other people are, too. I have a writing background so when I assumed the presidency of the TCHS board in 2009, a newspaper column seemed a good way to promote activities of the historical society, to share stories and exhibits from the Pioneer Townsite Museum, and to focus on the history of the area. Both “The Frederick Press” and “The Frederick Leader” readily agreed to print the column every week as a free service to the community and the historical society.
From the first column, response has been positive. I appreciate the many encouraging comments that I have received over the past three years concerning “Tillman County Chronicles”.
For me, time has always been an issue, though. I work a full-time job and I have a lot of other projects and activities.
I always had a Tuesday morning newspaper deadline for the column, so Monday nights often found me digging around for something to write about.  Almost always, “Chronicles” columns have been written the night before the Tuesday deadline – commonly in the middle of the night.
A year or so ago, I set up this blog site and have since archived most “Tillman County Chronicles” here. Anyone coming to this site can enter a key word (“Abernathy”, “Tipton”, “Brush”, etc.) in the search box at top right of the page and be given a list of all “Chronicles” that are keyed to that word.
Many visitors to the site are referred by Google or other search engines.
The blog, like the column, has been fun to do, and I have always been amazed at the number of blog site visitors.
Until now, the “Tillman County Chronicles” blog site has been driven by the newspaper column.

Newspaper Change
In late January, Tillman County journalism underwent a seismic shift when Frederick’s two longtime newspapers became one.
Heartland Newspapers, the corporate owner of “The Frederick Leader”, purchased the locally owned “Frederick Press” and the new newspaper became “The Frederick Press-Leader”.
I think the move was a good one. In the world of modern journalism, small-town newspapers have a difficult time making ends meet. The fact that Frederick has been served by two newspapers for all these years is remarkable in itself. It has seemed inevitable that, eventually, one of the two newspapers would have to cease publication, although it was impossible to know which it would be.
“The Frederick Press-Leader”, by maintaining names and staff of both newspapers, continues the traditions of both historic publications, and that is a very good thing!
The folks at “The Frederick Press-Leader” are great. Ray Wallace at the newspaper is a good friend, and he is very willing to continue publication of the “Chronicles”. The publication deadline of the new newspaper, though, is now Monday.
This may seem like a small point, but I don’t do Monday deadlines well! I guess that having to write anything over the weekend for a Monday deadline seems like homework, and I do like weekend time!
So… this seems a good time to transition “Chronicles” from a newspaper-driven column to posts that are planned first and foremost for the website.

The Difference?
Planning “Chronicles” posts specifically for the website will allow more variety of format.
That may include less structured comments and explanations, direct reprints of old newspaper articles, current reports, more conversational opinion, and more random photos. It may include long posts or very, very short ones. There may be many posts in the span of one week, or posts at irregular intervals.
I think that a looser format will mean that more items can be included in a less structured way, and that will be a good thing.
“Tillman County Chronicles” may still show up sometimes in the local newspaper, but it will be after the material has posted to this website and it will probably not be on a weekly basis.
So… Stay tuned.

Any Ideas?
If you have any ideas about topics that you would like to see explored or presented in “Tillman County Chronicles”, drop me an e-mail at

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