Magazine article American Journalism Review

A Family Weekly Does It Right

Magazine article American Journalism Review

A Family Weekly Does It Right

Article excerpt

Jason Espy, who has been writing for the Summerville News pretty much since he learned to write, sniffed out the story.

There was a "dog dump," his source said. When he got there he didn't find it, at first. But in that remote spot he did find a City of Summerville, Georgia, garbage truck illegally dumping household wastes. Nearby he soon found the burial site of hundreds of dogs, more than 20 of them just lying on the ground, some polluting the overflow waters of the Chattooga River.

A city official had told the dogcatcher just to dump them out there. Nobody would know. They surely should have known better.

The paper named names and got action. Once again the News had shaped things up a bit in Chattooga County, Georgia.

The News covers every official meeting in the county's four municipalities and their school districts.

Up in the mountainous northwest corner of the state, Chattooga has been served by the News since 1886. Jason's great-grandfather, O.J. Espy, bought a piece of it in 1906 and became the owner five years later. The Espys have been publishing the News and winning awards ever since. They plan to keep at it.

Five Espys work for the paper, doing everything from reporting news and selling advertising to running the press. Winston E. Espy, known as Gene, is the editor and publisher, and a columnist.

Gene's father, David, hired me one summer and let me write almost the whole paper at 15 cents a column inch. He told me the paper and its printing business were worth about $70,000. …

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