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Good Stories

Caught live and dressed for you this and every week in Bay Weekly

What do you love to do?    
    Discovering what that is and making the time to do it is a key to a happy life.
    I learned that lesson from Joe Akers, who when I met him had stepped back from the stage of world affairs to take over a small-town Illinois newspaper.
    “When I worked for the oil companies,” Akers told me the evening of the June afternoon I walked into his newsroom, “I’d leave and never know when I’d be back. Three weeks, that’ll be all, my boss said on sending me to South America.
    “By then I was wise to him. All right, I said, but I want one condition. I want to come home once a month.
    “Fine,” he said.
    “That stay lasted 11 months and took me to nearly every county in South America. But he kept his promise. I came home 11 times.”
    Back then, I’d bumped into what I loved to do, and I was making time for it. Discovering people like Joe Akers kept photographer partner Sue Eslinger and me on the road for two years.
    Two years have stretched into a lifetime. After leaving Illinois, and Illinois Times, I joined with my family in creating Bay Weekly so I could keep telling the stories of people whose work and play made this their equivalent of Akers’ “the best life I’ve ever lived — that I can remember.”
    Most everybody who’s ever written a story for Bay Weekly has shared my sustained delight in discovering, first-hand, the dynamism of people doing work they love.
    That’s why you have the pleasure this week of reading The Original Social Network.
    Writer Karen Holmes was dancing at the Davidsonville Recreation Center when she chanced on the Anne Arundel Radio Club reaching out to the world by Morse code, voice and digital over the 24 hours of this year’s nationwide Ham Radio Field Day.
    Find a bunch of people erecting electronic Maypoles, and you take notice. If, that is, you’re like Holmes, whose association with Bay Weekly has turned her into the version of a journalistic hunting dog we call a newshound.
    Like Sue and me in those early years, Bay Weekly reporters catch their stories where they find them.
    Proudly, they bring their catch back to me, and we dress them for your reading pleasure. Just as Karen Holmes has done in this fascinating story about people — our neighbors in Calvert and Anne Arundel counties — whose passion is connecting.
    In the inner sanctums of journalism, there’s a lot of talk nowadays about “rekindling the passion for print” — in other words, how to get people to do what you’re doing, reading a newspaper.
    Of my prescription for keeping print alive and well, you’re living proof: Find writers and reporters who love their work, and send them out to bring back stories of people making the world tick. These are stories people will read.
    We’ve got stories of that sort for you again this week, thanks to writers like Victoria Clarkson, first appearing in Bay Weekly this week; Kathy Knotts, a journalist for 15 years, the last for Bay Weekly; and intern Robyn Bell, our St. John’s College grad who’s discovering what thrills us all in this business: finding good stories and bringing them back to you.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com