Thomas Howard: Showing gratitude this Thanksgiving


I am grateful for…

Thanksgiving is almost here, which incidentally is why the paper is out a day early. And while the holidays are a special kind of hell for print schedules, Thanksgiving in particular is a time reflect on the many wonderful things with which we are blessed.

In that spirit, here are a few of the things I am grateful for:

Public Servants

This was a big year for politics. At the beginning of the year, we saw Sen. Terry Burton announce he would not be running for reelection, allowing someone else to take his seat. I’m grateful for Mr. Burton’s service to District 31.

This year also brought elections for local races, and across the board we saw every day folks throw their names in the hat to serve their community. Some of them won, some lost, but all of them were willing to serve, to do their part to make Newton County a great place to live. I’m grateful for them all.

Voices of Reason

Statewide, we saw a heated primary election, a brutal runoff and a general election that wouldn’t have been out of place on a middle school playground, but throughout the bickering and school-yard insults, I saw voices of reason calling for voter engagement, civil discussion and promoting the issues over the attacks. To those few calm souls, thank you.


Last but certainly not least, I’m incredibly grateful for all of you who subscribe to The Newton County Appeal. Perhaps you’ve heard rumors or seen an article about the state of newspapers in America. It’s not good.

With the slash-and-burn tactics of hedge fund managers, the further decline of print advertising and growing digital news consumption, more than 1,000 newspapers have shuttered their doors in recent years, and many more have cut production. For journalists, that means less work, lower pay and disappearing job security.

But subscribers make a huge difference. The Newton County Appeal exists because of you, and while no paper has been immune to the changes sweeping our industry, your subscriptions stave off the worst of the damage and help ensure the paper’s survival.

When I tell people I work in Newton County, Mississippi, I usually get a response of “where?”, but the size or prominence of a place isn’t what makes it a great place to live and work. The people do, and Newton County has some great people.

So finally, – yes, I know I said the last one was the last one, but this really is the last one. I promise – I’m grateful to be able to live in a place with such an outstanding sense of community, neighborliness and service to others. Thank you for allowing me to be the editor of your paper.

Thomas Howard is the managing editor of The Newton County Appeal. He can be reached at