By Pat Pratt
This being my first writing as the editor of the Times-Tribune, right off the bat I want to make three promises.
First, until the day I leave I promise I will always be a humble servant of this community. I believe journalism is a great trust, one given by the public. And I believe wholeheartedly that anyone in a public position owes everything they can give to the community they serve.
Secondly, while I can not promise I will never make a mistake, I can promise that if I do, I will absolutely do everything in my power to make it right.
Last but certainly not least, any claims made in the pages of this newspaper will be based on facts. I am a firm believer in evidence. Not only will our claims be supported by evidence, we as journalists will be clear in stating what that evidence is and with very few exceptions, how we came to obtain it.
That being said, I am thrilled to be a part of the community. For 15 years, I have served as a journalist, mostly in my home state of Missouri. Most recently, I was the criminal justice reporter for the Columbia Tribune. Prior to that, I worked at the Jonesboro Arkansas Sun where I covered county government and law enforcement, as well as the federal courts. For several years I worked at the Daily American Republic in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, covering education. I started my career, now 15 years ago, at the Park Hills Missouri Daily Journal, covering public safety.
There, I attended Mineral Area College, later transferring to Southeast Missouri State University. Over the years I’ve won several awards but honestly, they mean very little to me. I never took up this vocation for fame or accolades. The work I am most proud of in my career, would certainly never appear on a cable news show or land me a Pulitzer Prize.
In fact, most were little things. A fight for a better railroad crossing where several people had died in Northeast Arkansas. An article calling out a poor nutrition program in the Boone County, Missouri, Jail. Articles on excessive fees and fines, bad government actors and other abuses of power.
Those are the stories that mattered most to me. Not because of a shiny award, but because they made a difference in the lives of the people I served.
Aside from journalism, my second passion is debate. I’m always open to a formal argument on most any subject and I do not shy away from difficult topics. I hope in the days ahead to meet as many of our readers as I can and engage in conversations about the issues we all face. My door is also always open.
I thank you again for this opportunity to narrate the history of this place we all call home.