First Things First

Let’s keep things rolling



The response to last week’s edition of the Kemper County Messenger has been overwhelming.

Quite frankly, when you take on a new project, especially one of the magnitude of owning and operating a local newspaper, you’re not sure what to expect. What Barb and I got from you the public was encouraging to say the least.

The Oct. 7 paper wasn’t perfect, but it was a start. Now the key is to keep the trend moving upward.

The goal all along has been to produce a newspaper that was about the community, for the community, and a part of the community. If this newspaper is to flourish, the community must have ownership. It must be important to them as individual and as a whole and they must show that.

How can that be done? Here are a few ways:

— Contribute to the newspaper with your items of interest, photos, and ideas. Not only tell us what is going on in your community, but help us actually get it into print.

In order to have a lasting impact on the community, The Kemper County Messenger needs to be more than just a paper telling about things happening in Kemper County. It needs to be the community sharing about itself with each other.

It is important for the local community clubs and churches to consistently report on what is happening at their gatherings. If you have something going on, whether you think it is newsworthy or not, put it in the community calendar or simply e-mail us at or me personally at We care and we need your input.

If you are interested in writing a community column about things going on in your part of this special place called Kemper County, let us know and we will help you get started.

— Secondly, buy the paper and encourage others to do so as well. You can buy it for a $1 each week at the newsstand or $36 for an annual subscription. For a short time we have an introductory rate of just $25. Give Morgan a call at 601-743-5760 and get signed up. And while you are it, give it to someone else as a gift no matter where they may live in the United States.

One of the ways you show a local newspaper it has value in the community is by making sure it is in your hands and in your home each week.

You can also e-mail to make sure you have a valid subscription.

— Thirdly, a paper has to be profitable in order to keep providing readers with news stories, photos, and other items of interest.

That comes down to advertising, plain and simple. I was overwhelmed with how many people took advantage of the relatively inexpensive ($15 per week; $195 for 13 weeks) opportunity to advertise on our devotional pages, not only showing their support but gaining valuable public exposure. Our goal is to fill up two pages with these ads.

This is a good place to place a “business card” ad; an awesome place for churches to display their service times; a great opportunity for individuals to send a message to the community; and an incredible opportunity for elected officials to keep their message and names before the public year-round, not just at election times.

If you are interested in advertising in the paper either on the devotional pages, as a sponsor of one of our many section fronts (Education, Sports, Community) or elsewhere in the paper, give Morgan a call at 601-743-5760 or me personally at 601-938-2471 and will make it happen.

The goal has never been to produce one good issue of a newspaper or even a dozen or 52. It has always been to build something that will last and will always be a viable and valuable source of information for a community that so much deserves it.

Thanks for being a part of what has taken place so far and being interested in seeing the growth and impact of the Kemper County Messenger on this special community continues.

Together we can get this done.

Be blessed!

Austin Bishop is editor and publisher of the Kemper County Messenger. Bishop, who has worked in the journalism field for 45 years, is also pastor of Great Commission Assembly of God in Philadelphia. He can be reached by e-mail at

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