Jackson County native comes back home to take over as GM of The Sun

‘The only constant is change’

By Carmen Abner, Jackson County Sun

Around 2500 years ago an ancient Greek philosopher by the name of Heraclitus wrote down the now famous line, “The only constant is change.”  And 2500 years later there has been nothing to suggest that he was wrong.

James Marcum, new GM at the Jackson County Sun

I mentioned last week that here had been some changes at the paper that would allow me to write more so I thought I’d better tell y’all a little more about that as you’ll begin to notice the result of those changes in this week’s paper.

As you might have noticed on the front page of last week’s paper, we have a new General Manager.  His name is James Marcum and he comes highly recommended.  He is also a Jackson County native, from a long line of Jackson County natives and we’re proud to have him. I expect great things in the future.

I know that a whole lot of people fear change, resist change and just plain don’t like change.  I’m not like that.  Heraclitus was right. Everything changes. If you’re going to feel anxious about change, you’re going to be anxious most of the time because change is the only thing you can really count on.  If you can step back from your fear and anxiety long enough to take a real look at the changes you will often find that with every change there comes opportunity. Besides that, without change nothing moves, nothing grows and nothing continues. Nothing.  Continuance is what it’s really about in life in general and, more specifically to the issue, the life of this paper as an integral part of Jackson County.

The Jackson County Sun will be 100 years old in just a few years and I’d surely like to see it survive for many years to come.  Down through the years there have been many owners and editors and managers and there have been a lot of changes, for better or for worse.  It was those changes that allowed us to continue, not the lack of change.  A newspaper, particularly in an area such as ours, is a living thing.  It is woven into the fabric of our identity as a people.  It informs us, entertains us, comforts us, and holds up a mirror, reflecting who we are.  To me, at least, it is very important to keep that life line healthy and viable for new generations of Jackson Countians. I believe that James Marcum just might be our ticket to do that.  He comes with new and fresh ideas, a grasp of the technology that will allow us to serve the many different kinds of readers that crave that new technology. He also comes with a great deal of training and talent and a love of the work.  And, he comes with a history that ties him to this place back through many generations.

Now, I’ve got the love of the work down pat but let’s face it, y’all, I’m no business woman and I’m certainly no salesman.  What I am, what I have been since I could hold a pencil in my hand and stick words together, is a writer.  I will say for myself that I’ve done a pretty good job of wearing all the hats and keeping this paper breathing over the last three years as General Manager but I was really just performing CPR until someone could come along and breathe some real new life into it.  We need that and we need it desperately if we are to survive and flourish in an age such as this.

The world has changed a lot since the Jackson County Sun was first published in 1926 and it will keep on changing.  It does my heart good to think that, by changing with it, we will survive.  We will keep the good parts and add to them.  We will endeavor to be a better and larger voice for the people and an even better source of trustworthy information.

One of the things that I do here, and will continue to do, is go through the old bound volumes of the paper and create the “Out of the Past” section of the paper.  In going through all those old stories and pictures I often feel like I’m in a time machine. I see ancestors and fore bearers.  I see life ways and traditions.  I see love and sorrow.  I see dreams and harsh reality.  I see all the things that have made us who we are.  And, I see the future.

Our ancestors had to adapt to a changing world and this paper had to adapt to a changing world from the beginning.  I love the thought of some young person, 50 years from now, looking back at an issue of the Jackson County Sun and seeing all those things, all the things that we are now, with new eyes.

This change isn’t about ending anything.  This change is about passing the torch.  This change is about how it should be and how it must be to achieve continuance.

I invite everyone out there to join me in making James welcome.  He left a lucrative position to come home and work for The Jackson County Sun. He did it because home means something to him and this paper means something to him that can’t be really explained with dollar signs.  It matters to him that this paper continues and that is the key that will keep the door open to the future.

As for me, I’ll still be around.  I’ll be writing the Briar Philosopher and adding some feature stories about the folk and history of this place, and thinking and trying to help this young man transition into this job in the least stressful way possible.  He is the beginning of a new chapter at The Jackson County Sun and that’s a story I can’t wait to read.

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