On communities, audiences and news media

By sydney

Mark Kelly, of Independence Township, died at age 63.
The news from friends that our mutual friend, Mark P. Kelly had passed away, presumably peacefully in his sleep, shocked me. As with the death of any person, it is not just a loss for loved ones, family and friends. When a person passes, the community also loses something. As long as a person is alive and thinks they have something to offer their community. Their potential is alive as it is.
Mark’s passing is a loss to the community of Clarkston. Quietly and with no more motivation than he could, Mark went out of his way to make his community a better place to live and do business. And it’s not as if he had made his fortune and was now digging into his deep pockets for wads of cash. On the contrary, Mark made his living as a photographer in his garage. His thing was not money. Mark has used his energy, talents, generosity and kindness to help any individual, group or community project in need.

Mark Kelly

He has touched many lives over the years donating gallons of blood to the Red Cross, delivering food with Meals on Wheels, helping Clarkston’s RUSH Robotics team; every winter he helped Clarkston Rotary sell the Shoes for Kids newspaper. He took family photos during Taste of Clarkston for around $10 each, then donated the funds raised to different charities in the area. He refereed sports in high school. He even contributed to Clarkston Cultural Arts with his photography. He just seemed to be everywhere with a humble smile and his camera.
He took photos of local business people and the Clarkston area chamber of commerce. The Clarkston High School team photos were popular.
He helped start the Clarkston Coffee Club for small businesses – faithfully, every week for the past 10 or so years he has led the group. Never asking for money, this networking group was free. Introduce yourself, be nice and make friends.
I’m sure all of these activities helped his business, but I think he really enjoyed helping people.
He was a friend. A special man and maybe a group in town could do him some good – maybe come up with a Mark Kelly Community Volunteer Award or something. I do not know. Just an idea.
* * *
I went to my first school board meeting as a reporter in probably 30 years last week. Yes, the other Tuesday night I arrived at the Oxford school board meeting around 6 p.m. for the 6:30 p.m. start. As I haven’t been a reporter for a long time, I sat in the front row to don’t miss anything. After the oath of allegiance, council held a closed session. The minutes pass. Soon, having nothing to do, I pulled my baseball cap down, closed my eyes and listened. Gee. I forgot how good my hearing is! I heard a lot of things behind me. A few small children laughed. There were a few coughs. I even heard whispered conversations about personal issues that I wish I hadn’t heard. The closed session lasted one hour and 10 minutes.
* * *
As a highly decorated, venerable, old, ink-stained, miserable journalist, I enjoy reading newspapers. And, on Saturday mornings, I buy a copy of both the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. Over breakfast and coffee at a restaurant in Ortonville, I read said newspapers. On Saturday, February 5, I was saddened by what I read.
It was not an article about a tragic event. No, nothing like that. Inside each article was an article written by Jill Colvin of the Associated Press. On page 1 of The Freep, the headline read, Pence rebuts Trump in election. On page 11, the headline of the Detroit News was Pence: Trump “mistakes” on election.
It was good. What saddens me, and what I think causes people to distrust the media these days, is the editorialization of news articles. In the same article, written by the same author, there were three bias-based differences.
The Freep published: . . . Penny. . . refuted Trump’s claims. . . News published: . . . Penny. . . refuted Trump’s false claims. . .
The Freep published: . . . Trump’s intensified efforts this week to push the narrative forward. . . News published: . . . Trump’s intensified efforts this week to advance the false narrative. . .
The Freep published: And on Sunday he slammed Pence, saying “he could have canceled the election.” The News published: And on Sunday he lambasted Pence, falsely saying that “he could have annulled the election”.
I think editors and reporters would be doing themselves a favor and doing our industry a favor by keeping opinions in the editorial pages and out of their reporting.

See, I wasn’t lying to you.