In this job, it is easy to become jaded by some of the sad and heartbreaking stories and issues that we report on a daily basis. But sometimes there’s a bright spot.Earlier this month, I got a reminder of why I walk into this office every day, and why I do the work I do.
When asked in the past why I decided to be a journalist, I always compared it to manning a spotlight and shining a light on the things going on in our community. While certainly some of the issues are negative, we also have the opportunity to shine a light the positive things that are going on in our community.
Over the weekend, we ran a story about a small group in Denison that is forming a memory cafe — a social group aimed at those suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease and other related conditions. I initially got the news tip from a member of the library staff who thought it might make a good story. It did.
The group was started by a couple in Denison and was still trying to attract members for its weekly meetings. Membership was low, and the couple partly attributed this to a stigma regarding mental health and dementia. This was reinforced when I went to take pictures during the meeting and several of the members asked not to be photographed out of fear of how friends or family members would react.
On Monday, I got a message from one of the group’s organizers thanking me for the story. As a direct response to my story, another three individuals attended their weekly meeting. Two of the members were in the early stages of Alzheimer’s while a third was a Parkinson’s patient.
It can be easy to take for granted the impact of a single news story when I have written hundreds, but it’s nice to get a reminder of that every once in a while.
Happy birthday to Mary Lou Newman of East Brunswick, N.J; Keira Simone Jones of Mount Pleasant; Mary Bell Hunter of St. Albans, Vermont; Dexter Butler and Dreylin Butler, both of Denison.