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Columns

  • Nuts & Bolts Terri Likens Editor: A lesson: School board tries to slip one by

    It was decades ago, but I still remember Jim Hightower’s public affairs reporting class at Western Kentucky University.

    The school had a top-rated journalism program and its teachers — and many of its students — took the subject matter seriously.

    We learned about open records and open meetings law – generally called Sunshine Laws, because they help shed light on the actions and dealings of our government officials.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET by Gerald Largen: What impact will Sen. Snowe’s going have?

    The rock-ribbed coast of Maine is not noted for many products — timber and paper wood, potatoes, seafood, and L. L. Bean apparel being the principal ones.

    But far and away the most important thing that has sprung from that rocky soil may well be its womenfolk.

    This thought comes to mind in view of the announcement last week that Olympia Snowe, three-term Republican senator for Maine will not seek re-election this year, thus ending more than thirty years in the Congress, both House and Senate.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET by Gerald Largen: Facing plain truths about oil prices, and Islam

    Well, here we go again, kind reader, — caught up in the net of nefariousness woven by the big oil companies and their Wall Street speculator/bail-out beneficiary, allies — in a constantly escalating upwards ride in the gasoline price balloon.

    Remember last time, when all the wise talking heads “explained” to us dummkopfs how the price rise was all simply an aspect of the free enterprise system, governed by the law of supply and demand?

  • Nuts & Bolts, A discussion of how things work in the news business: Anonymous comment — keep or quit it?

    Recently, the Chattanooga Times Free-Press took steps to shut down anonymous comment on stories it posts online.

    The newspaper is still allowing comment on opinion pieces — editorials, letters, editorial cartoons — posted online.

    Managing editor Alison Gerber made this point:

  • Nuts & Bolts by Terri Likens, Editor: Suicide — should we report on it or not

    Recently, a well-liked and fairly well-known Roane Countian committed suicide.

    The person was found in her vehicle in the parking lot where she worked.

    One area newspaper ran a news story. We simply ran the obituary.

    Who was right?

    Who knows.

    How and when to cover suicide — someone’s last act of desperation — is one of the most debated topics in journalism.

    Many news outlets believe it is a private affair. To minimize the pain and suffering to survivors, they simply run an obituary.

  • Some expression now unfree after court's ruling

    By Ken Paulson, First Amendment Center
    The Supreme Court just put a price tag on some formerly free speech.

    In a 6-2 vote on Jan. 18, the Court upheld a 1994 law that extended copyright protection to foreign films, books, paintings and other art that had previously been in the public domain and available free to U.S. residents.

  • A View from Lick Skillet: Rockwood & Ruppe will make a great team

    By Gerald Largen
    We were more than a little surprised last Friday to find ourself occupying a front page, above-the-fold location in that day’s Roane County News lead article about the “Crowded field” in the Property Assessor’s race.

  • Nuts & Bolts Terri Likens Editor: Sometimes it is good to consider the impacts

    When I was a junior in high school, my family moved from the community I had grown up in to a new place an hour and a half away.

    Being the new kid in a new school was difficult, but things got worse when a story appeared in the local newspaper.

    Our newly constructed house was on a country lane just outside of town. It had a septic tank, which a neighbor contended had been incorrectly installed. I assume she watched the work being done from her house, although there were indications she just didn’t want the lot beside her developed.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET by Gerald Largen: Romney’s case shows rich not ‘job creators’

    As you well know, gentle reader, the principal reason set forth by the defenders of giving the extremely wealthy a “free ride”, insofar as the rate of taxation imposed on their income, is the assertion that these are the “job creators.”

    Now, this is a defence that they may or may not believe.

    After all, some folks can make themselves believe just about anything, no matter how preposterous.

  • LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: Road trip? Perhaps, but then where to go?

    I’m back on track with my dog-walking this week, thanks to our recent spring-like interlude.
    It has felt good to be in the sunshine.
    January seems to be flying by more quickly than usual, in part because of the more temperate winter weather.
    I figure winter will whomp its hammer down on us at some point; like cats, the extreme seasons toy with us before they really mess us up.
    For now, I’m really enjoying not freezing half to death.