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‘Private, Yet Public’

December 15, 2019 - Cindy Knier

So reads the headline written by Margaret Brock in the Sept. 26, 1947 issue of The Luminary, which had undergone transformation from its prior ownership and printing site in Montgomery. That day saw the fulfillment of a wish and the beginning of an association that had been a long and mostly happy one.

In the editorial, Mrs. Brock said “I start with high hopes, some confidence, yet with some trepidation, for I am conscious of my inexperience and am beginning to learn something of my ignorance.” She conveyed the discovery that because she was now owner and publisher, the right to act as a private individual without explanation to anyone’s prying questions in her new role. “Since by the very nature of my business I ask for confidence and trust, I must myself, be outspoken and sincere,” she said. The business of a paper is to tell the news, to echo the sentiment already there, and to foster public policy by publishing private opinion, she ruminated.

Mrs. Brock understood that newspapers could not be all-wise, and had the hope that any mistakes would be honest ones. “I have no axe to grind, I am not beholden to any individual or group,” she stated.

She also wrote of being a novice as a publisher in both business and technical ways. Selecting competent staff who would foresee the technical aspect, Mrs. Brock had a true desire to be of service that would make up for her shortcomings, she stated, “as I fumble my way to success.”

Non-partisan and politically independent, The Luminary backed groups or individuals she felt were mostly trying to serve the best interest of the community, regardless of which party they fell under.

“In the years to come as the final verdict is made, we hope you will find we have published on the whole, only that which is good…we hope the letters spell news, not gossip, and history, not rumor. We hope we shall be generous in our recognition of others, but if we must tell of failures and tragedy, that it will be done with kindliness, not malice.. While we shall mourn with those who mourning, we hope the pages will be brimming with happiness and laughter—the record of fun and fine living in a lovely land.”

Well said, Mrs. Brock.


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