About Overcoming ‘Becauses’, an Iowa Story
Here’s something that just hit me this week. We posted a blog piece months ago about my meeting with people searching for an attorney on a family matter while absolutely, positively sure that “it doesn’t matter.”
It doesn’t matter because the system doesn’t support people like them; or, it’s all about money and power and influence; or, maybe worse of all, because everyone knows you can’t (fill in the blank). Think of these as the ‘becauses.’
Unfortunately, a great many things on TV and in the media (especially social media) serve only to reinforce these feelings. They make every lawyers’ job across a full spectrum of legal disciplines much harder.
While I, certainly, don’t subscribe to (most) of these feelings, I do (completely) understand. I get it. I empathize. I try to point out instances where it’s simply not true … or it’s changing … or can be changed.
Sometimes that’s not easy. But it is today. On Tuesday morning, the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing was awarded to a newspaper just a way northwest from here. The Storm Lake Times, circulation 3,000, published twice a week, a decidedly family effort, won the most prestigious award in journalism.
They joined the slightly bigger New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Miami Herald in the editorial award while beating out the Houston Chronicle and Washington Post.
In doing so, they’ve blown away all the ‘becauses’. I grew up reading my local small town papers, the Albia Union-Republican and Monroe County News (since 1862 and 1890, respectively), which are still in business. But there aren’t exactly many family newspapers serving small communities left in the US in the Internet Age, as the Wall Street Journal pointed out in their congratulatory article Wednesday. Staying in business in 2016 was an achievement in and of itself.
That they took on dark money and seriously powerful companies and interests while staying in business was also notable. That they submitted their editorials for consideration to the Pulitzer Committee is … fantastic.
This is a newspaper family. They knew who the competition was. They knew that entering was akin to the local Pee-Wee Football Champions taking on the Patriots. They also knew they wrote well – very well. And had a great story.
They did not look at The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, or any of the other titans of print and think better of submitting. They certainly didn’t listen to any of the (many) people who told them there was no chance – you can’t take on the big guys. And so much more.
They competed anyway, and now they have a Pulitzer. Well done.