I was sad to hear the news that Michael Davis would be departing as editor of the Jackson Progress-Argus after nearly 10 years at the helm. For a small hometown newspaper, that is an enormously long stretch of covering local government meetings, school events, sports happenings and the plethora of annual events that make up the circle of life in a community such as Butts County. These things might seem insignificant to some, but to communities such as ours, they are important bits of the history that is uniquely ours, the kinds of things that local historians will enjoy reading about it in the decades down the road.

The history of Butts County resides in the pages of the JPA, dating back to times before any of us were ever thought of. Just as I enjoy spending time looking through this window into the past, I am mindful that someday all that will remain of me and of the people I grew up with and have cared about will be some pieces of text from old newspapers, chronicling our shared journey through the pages of time. I am grateful for the men and women who wrote that history and curated it over several generations so that we could enjoy it today. Michael Davis is one of those scribes who will make up a part of our history and who will have told it from his own point of view as an observer to our daily routines and the things that were important to us. I hope he appreciates the contribution he has made as much as many of us do.

Hometown newspapers have changed a lot over the last 10 years. Ours has seen changes from the days when a staff of five or six people put together the newspaper each week. Where editors used to write and edit and oversee reporters, photographers and sales staff, today they often find themselves alone in their tasks, and the papers grow smaller each year. Mike managed to get the job done but it can’t have been an easy task being everything, all the time. I guess I always knew the day would come when it wouldn’t be him sitting in that chair.

As a county officer, I can say that I appreciate having a good working relationship with the local newspaper. We both understand our roles and while they are often by nature in opposition, they don’t have to be adversarial. Mike has never been afraid to ask the hard questions about the workings of government but he has always been fair and consistent, willing to hear our side of things and still draw his own, independent conclusions. I appreciate that and his willingness to look at all sides of things when it would probably have been easier to just take the ball and run with it.

I hope that he will find much happiness and success in his future endeavors and that he will take pride in his body of work during his time among us. I wish him the best of luck.

— J. Michael Brewer