Sunday sampler

Sunday is the day newspapers showcase their best work. Here are some from North Carolina papers that are worth reading:

From the Asheville Citizen-Times: A piece about the Henderson County Sheriff spending county money probably in a way taxpayers would prefer he didn’t. It wasn’t a ton of money, but it’s the thought that counts. Henderson — With caramel mochas in Charlotte, a meal at the famed Cheers pub in Boston and bar food at Fat Head’s Saloon in Pittsburgh, Rick Davis made himself comfortable on the road — enjoying perks put on a county credit card.

From the News & Observer: The paper uses the compelling story of a 16-year-old who was the driver in an automobile accident that killed his passenger to take another look at the state’s parole system.

From the Fayetteville Observer: There were 29 homicides in Fayetteville last year, compared with 18 the year before. A typical end of the year story, significant to me because Greensboro also had a jump.

From the Charlotte Observer: The big banks gave the most money to Mitt Romney. Probably no big surprise, but a good analysis showing where the money is coming from and going. And interesting that the banks seem to be punishing Obama.

From the Winston-Salem Journal: Hard to believe but this isn’t against the law. A firm owned by a member of the board that oversees the state’s Golden LEAF Foundation has received more than $129,000 so far for two projects funded largely by the foundation for work in Surry, Wilkes and Yadkin counties, according to local and foundation records.

From the Wilmington Star-News: “If you’re homeless in Wilmington, they’ll throw you in jail.” That’s the attitude of Super Dave, Animal and Lurch, three homeless guys through whom the Star-News discusses the problem of homelessness in New Hanover County.

Putting public interest second

Yesterday, I was puzzled that more newspapers didn’t see the late-night early morning session of the General Assembly as front-page news. (I know it happened past most deadlines, but the AP had a story available.)

More newspapers got on board this morning, thanks to strong statements by the governor and NCAE yesterday. Stories about the furtive session made the front pages of Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Winston, Fayetteville, Burlington, Asheville, Salisbury and Greenville, among others. Editorials in Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro and Wilmington condemned the action.

Good politics and good government are not contradictory. You just need legislators who put the public interest first.


Welcome Wilt Browning to the Hall of Fame

I’m glad to read that former sports reporter, columnist, editor and author Wilt Browning is among the 2012 inductees into the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame.

Wilt was an already-established columnist by the time I got to the News & Record in 1985. And he was an ace. He won the state Sportswriter of the Year award in 1982 and 1985 — on his way to winning the award five times. He left the News & Record in 1996 after 18 years with the paper.

Amid all the sports and teams and superstars he covered, he knew where his bread was buttered — the reader. From his last column:

“I don’t even know how to tell somebody what I do except that when you and I sit down to do what we do, we want somebody out there to care. Don’t you get the feeling that that happens – maybe not as often as we’d like, but it happens? There is nothing as wonderful as picking up the ringing phone and on the other end of the line is a reader who cried when we cried, who laughed when we laughed, who got angry with us and sometimes because of us, who got the point we were trying to make about how unimportant winning and losing at sports really is. It doesn’t get any better than that.

“And when that last column is written, I hope I still have my fastball, and that out there somewhere, some other door is about to open for a lucky old sportswriter.”

That door opened and Wilt became the sports editor of the Asheville Citizen-Times. And he wrote books. (Before he came to the N&R, he worked for the Charlotte Observer and the Atlanta Constitution.)

He joins many other notable members of the sports press in the Hall of Fame. It is a well-deserved honor.