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Metro Spirit Features Edgefield Daily

web posted August 21, 2014

COUNTY   The Metro Spirit's Eric Johnson's story on Edgefield Daily is available online and linked below. Before reading the piece there are a couple clarifications that I would like to make on minor parts of the story.

First of all, understand that when Eric called me after an exchange of emails with he and his boss Joe White about working on a story together, I thought I was talking to a fellow reporter seeking some background on Edgefield Daily and myself and had no idea our talk was turned into an interview at the end. Some would call that "ambush journalism", but that was not Eric's intent and I had no problem with him using the information to write his story.

However, there are two key points I want to clarify for accuracy, and expand on a couple more.

Prior to founding Edgefield Daily I was interested in possibly buying the Edgefield Advertiser, even if it took gathering a group of investors to make it happen. I spoke to Mr. Mims on a number of occasions as well as his son and grandson Dru Mims. There was no way the family was going to sell. So I began an effort to try to become the publisher and not long after that Mr. Mims passed. It was then I knew that Suzanne Derrick would be taking over and I moved on with the launch of Edgefield Daily instead of a companion site for the paper.

The story makes it seem that a deal to sell had been reached, but that was not what was being negotiated on at the time of Mr. Mims' death.

Another point is Edgefield County Sheriff Adell Dobey offering me a bullet proof vest due to very controversial stories that were being published at the time and followed up on with more reports creating even more havoc for those at the center of the reports. As such, I began receiving death threats. At first I blew them off as nothing, but they continued and some were becoming concerning to my bride and to me as well. Sheriff Dobey did call me to his office once and offered me the vest to wear until things cooled down or the person or persons responsible could be identified. I thanked the Sheriff for his concern, but stated that if someone wanted to take me out they would, with or without a vest.

There were other times where death threats would begin coming in again and I would report them to the Sheriff's Office, and sometimes Sheriff's Dobey would refer back to that day in his office and say that the offer still stood, not that he called me into the office to make the offer all over again, it's a minor point, but one needed to be clarified. 

One other small thing was how our area of Merriwether got DSL. Though the information in the story is correct, it reads a bit odd to me. I did not circulate the petitions to get the DSL, I encouraged a neighbor to do it and he was successful and I advertised the petition drive. The wording in that line just seemed to confuse me when I read it.

There is also a single line about how in the early years I was not wanting to "deal with advertisers". At that time advertisements were not accepted for fear that if an advertiser tried to influence the tenor or tone or subject matter of reporting it would create a conflict. That has not been an issue with any of our advertisers save one, who dropped an advertisement over a boycott threat during rocky times with the county government. We love our advertisers as they pay our reporters, make our content free to you (so you should support them with your business), and allow us to have contests and make donations to charities quietly. As stated in the story, I do not draw a paycheck for my work.

As you read the story by the Metro Spirit, you will probably not even see any of this mattering as you enjoy the story, but I always want things to be as clear as possible. 

I thank Eric Johnson for his interest in the "Wayback Machine" he calls Edgefield Daily (and the "truck stop placemat format") and Joe White who allowed the story to be published. I'm just never comfortable being the focus of a story. I like being on the back side of a camera and staying out of the news itself.

I have no doubt the story will introduce us to many more readers than before and I look forward to building on our working relationship as well when stories cross our watery boarder. I've even suggested having a box on the Edgefield Town Square to make the Metro Spirit available in the future. That was balked at, give me time to work on it. They have the best listings on entertainment and events in the CSRA. 

With all that said: Here is the Metro Spirit's story - "Dial-Up News in a High-Speed World"

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