Commentary

We Deserve Free Media — My Parting Thought

Posted by tbaker |

By Terrah Baker

Truths From Terrah

That’s me, the soon to be past managing editor of The Free Weekly, on the far right, standing with Governor Beebe, representatives of the Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and the Arkansas Commission on Child Abuse, Rape and Domestic Violence. My position at the Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault will allow me the opportunity to dive deep into a social issue that affects us all, as Gov. Beebe pointed out when he declared April Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Arkansas.

Wow. What an exciting, eventful, stressful, enlightening last one year and nine months its been as managing editor of The Free Weekly.

When I was offered the position, I had already been a fan of the publication, for the same reasons as so many. I saw my friends in the pages. I saw variety, musicians and artists living their dreams, and activists standing up for issues that were, and are, ignored by other media sources. Articles that covered topics significant to the world, and others unique to Northwest Arkansas — some a little of both.

So, naturally, as a journalism student, I was excited to accept the challenge. And a challenge it’s been. Yes, much of the challenge was for reasons people have suspected. The hectic lifestyle, and constant bombardment of information and weekly deadlines. But the biggest challenge was picking and choosing from the whole of Northwest Arkansas and its vast array of spectacles, creative and driven individuals, and intricately woven culture.

Now it’s the end of my term, as my last day will be the day this issue hits stands: Thursday, May 1. A new managing editor will step up to the plate, to take their turn at bringing NWA a taste of what’s out there, in the style only a free, community-driven paper can.

Before I go, I just want to say a few things. I won’t get sentimental and say I’ll miss it, and the readers, and the access to overloads of amazing information and people — although I will. I’ll only say my time here has been one I won’t forget. Few writers have the opportunity to work for a publication where variety, uniqueness and alternative views are pillars of the organization’s success.

My opinion is any free media source with an open platform, is a necessity to a community’s health, for reasons we all recognize. The one thing that makes TFW special is while, yes, it is corporately owned, and our staff and budget is, um….small…we still offer a service no one else is offering.

My last plea to you, with some of the final key strokes I’ll take as managing editor of TFW, is to appreciate what you’ve got while it’s here. Or, at least never let the free media, alternative news sources go away. Because Fayetteville, NWA, and all humans on the crazy ass planet right now, need free, outspoken media sources that represent the people that live here, in all their variety, wisdom and importance.

 

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