It’s not often we stop to ponder our own career, and more often than not, we view the negatives before we readily appreciate the better aspects of what pays the mortgage. And I must say, I have a damn interesting job. 

As the Milton Herald editor, I serve as a voice for an impassioned community full of residents who truly love their city. They are the most knowledgeable and active citizens I have witnessed who don’t just gripe when an issue they oppose comes down the pipeline. They channel their voices and concerns and shape the present and future of the unique place they call home. 

In covering high school sports, I get to witness firsthand the triumph, heartbreak, unity and passion of the fantastic student athletes in North Fulton and Forsyth County. And in some way, I play a role in these athletes’ futures. When their playing days are long gone, their hairline receded and muscles weakened by age, they can flip open their scrapbook and relive their athletic glory days, showing their grandchildren an article I wrote highlighting their athletic accomplishments on newsprint yellowed by time. My job also allows me to further my own passions, including cars, where each week the newest models are brought to my driveway for me to test and review. 

I would prefer no other job. But as with any career, journalism does come with its negatives. 

For starters, the hours are long and tedious for chicken feed paychecks. I must balance my home and work life, which is not easy considering, even at a local level, news never stops. There is also the lingering paranoia in my mind that the newspaper industry is slowly but surely shrinking as newsrooms across the country dwindle and struggle. 

I was well aware of all these negatives when I joined the journalism profession. What I did not foresee is that, as such, I would be labeled an enemy of the people.

Our president has said on multiple occasions the media is such. While this denouncement is usually predicated with “fake news,” it is fueling a disdain and distrust for what is undoubtedly one of the most crucial aspects to our society and a founding principal for our nation — a free press. 

Now, I will not for a moment say there are not countless talking heads that dribble radical garble under the guise of journalism. And they are not limited to either party affiliation or one particular 24-hour news channel. These are people who care far more about ratings and fueling their own egos than presenting factual information. 

This in itself isn’t fake news, however, because it’s opinion. Fake news only occurs when the recipients of these statements take it as fact. 

But unfortunately we have seen that many people cannot differentiate between the opinion of these talking heads and facts, so they either take these statements as concrete if they agree or dismiss them as either conservative or liberal propaganda if they don’t.  

With that, what constitutes fake news become subjective. And it means that when journalists present factual, accurate information, they can still be labeled an enemy of the people. 

Journalists, myself included, still have our own political views. However, anytime I or my fellow Appen Media Group colleagues are criticized for “letting our bias show,” I remember back to the first major lesson of my first collegiate journalism classes a decade ago — never instill your own opinions into articles. And I can assure you, my coworkers and I strictly adhere to that lesson, and I hope that is one of the many reasons you opened this newspaper. 

We are not the enemy of the people. We work as the voice of the people, disseminating factual, accurate and timely information so that as a people we can be more informed of the issues that shape our daily lives. We are not the enemy of the people. We are the people.

(1) comment


With all due respect, I continue to be underwhelmed at how journalists handle Trump's behavior. I saw that clip between Acosta and Trump as most people did when Trump stated: 'You are a threat' to the journalist. We should all be curious about that statement.

A good trauma therapist might have responded with something like: "I am confused, could you tell me more about the threat, Mr. Trump." When Trump responds with an insult (which is predictable whenever someone would play dumb with him), then you might respond like, "Trump, please stay focused if you can. I know this is difficult for you, but please do your best." Now see that right there would be maintaining a calm while asserting an equal stance to him longer than most journalists are currently doing. The problem here is that Journalists don't know how to respond to a Narcissist.

Journalists should enroll in trauma psychological courses to better be able to inform the public. Mr. Trump is a traumatized individual who perceives threats that simply are not there. They are illusions. He feels the threat in his own experience, in his own body. It is unpleasant to feel threatened and that's why he blames people that challenge him. Anyone who challenges him threatens him, activates him (retraumatizes him) and he will do anything and everything to make it go away - which is what we are all witnessing. People blame in order to avoid feeling their own shame. Shame is an emotion that binds with the dissociated traumatized parts in all of us - very uncomfortable indeed. I speak from my own experience and subsequent healing(s).

If journalists researched Narcissism and learned the common behaviors of Narcissists and how to respond to them they would be much better equipped to manage their interactions. BTW some common Narcissistic behaviors include: Grandiosity (white nationalism), the prevalence of "financially successful" people being narcissists, the inability to take responsibility or criticism and thus blame others, and inability to have stable (or at least healthy) relationships (4 wives and who knows how many mistresses, oh and very high turnover in his white house cabinet or administration) etc...Any long-term relationships he has been able to maintain, I would question if money weren't a major binding factor.

It would be interesting to see journalists use a Diagnosis that exists in the Mental Health field and then research how Trump's behaviors align with something that a person who is Narcissist would do. In other words publicly rule it out, just like a mental health professional would do. My professional opinion is that it would not be ruled out. Instead, it would be a proven diagnosis - and it already is given the breadth of behaviors we have already seen. And this process would/could potentially educate the public. What are journalists waiting for?

The ironic thing though, is that as the journalists learn how to deal with a Narcissist they will learn that sometimes the healthiest thing to do is to become estranged from the Narcissist in your life! To have NO CONTACT! Trump is banning the journalist we learned shortly after this latest interaction Trump had with Acosta but shouldn't the Journalist first ban Trump? It's time journalists turn the tables!

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