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Points Between

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of traveling, talking and teeth.

Let's start at the end. I spent the latter part of last week catching up on sleep, thanks to a pain-prescription induced haze after having a tooth pulled.

The time on the sofa also allowed me to reflect a little bit on my trek to Texas. Thanks to my wife's digital camer. -and her penchant for taking tons of photo. -I was able to absorb parts of the trip that flew by. Many of the pictures were from the Dallas aquariu. -shocking, I know.

There were also pictures of mansions along Strait Lan. -Dallas' billionaire row, where Ross Perot calls home. I first became aware of the street a couple of years ago when Chateau Du Triomphe burned. At 44,000 square feet and an asking price of $45 million, the home made national news when it burned for eight hours one morning in 2002. Today, the property is little more than an ornate gate and wal. -and a reported price tag of $10 million or so.

The day before Miriam and I headed to Texas, I spent some time on the campus of Augusta State University. I had been invited back for a special gathering of newspaper folk. -editors of the college newspaper from over five decades.

The school was celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Bell Ringer, and I was one of five participants in a roundtable discussion about the state of newspapers and journalism.

I've long considered The Bell Ringer as one of my favorite times in newspapers. I started at the college paper as a freshman and remained there for almost six years. Along the way, I made some lifelong friend. -including McDuffie Mirror alumnus Kristopher Well. -and learned important lessons about journalism.

The Bell Ringer provided me the first opportunity to be involved with every aspect of a newspaper, from advertising to editing to managing a budget to the importance of developing relationships. It also molded my view of newspapers and how things should be covered: It's one of the main reasons I resist sensationalizing local events just to sell newspapers.

Ever since my Bell Ringer days, I've approached the newspaper business as a service to the community, something that journalists should be proud and humbled to do on a day-in, day-out basis. Of course, that philosophy is a far cry from the me-first attitude that many reporters carry. They think respect is something inherent to their position, not something earned.

And, trust me, they couldn't be farther from the truth.

Meanwhile, it is Masters Week again, and please let me reiterate my annual advice: Remember that the eyes of the world are on our region this week. It could be up to you what impression our guests take home with them. Please go out of your way to make folks feel welcome: Show them what Southern hospitality is really all about.

Web posted on Thursday, April 10, 2008

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