Story tips from the produce aisle

As a community journalist, you shouldn't count on an anonymous life. You should count on running into the people you write about at the grocery store, among other places.


I’m not the first community journalist who has talked about running into the subjects of their stories in a grocery store aisle. The point is that folks who write the news in smaller communities should not count on anonymous lives. You will come face to face with people you write about — sometimes when you least expect or want.

For many years, this has been a mixed-bag for me. I’ve had my share of awkwardness, and I’ve been scolded more than a few times by someone who didn’t like what I wrote. But those experiences are overshadowed by positive feedback and many good story tips. Occasionally, someone will help point me in the right direction.

That happened Saturday morning at Kroger, when I happened to see a member of the Nonpartisan Elections Citizens Committee in the vegetable aisle. (See … only a community journalist would or could write that sentence.)

Committee member Dan Kemp, who is a former mayor, mentioned to me that a story I wrote misstated an important point. I had written that when the committee finishes its work, the panel will make a recommendation about whether Hopkinsville should switch to nonpartisan elections for city offices. In fact, the committee will file a report on its findings. It won’t make a recommendation.

I appreciated Dan taking time to explain this, and I updated the story with a correction.

The committee will be meeting monthly, at 5:30 p.m. on the second Thursday at the Memorial Building. We’ll keep Hoptown Chronicle readers informed about future meetings and agenda topics.

If you haven’t already, subscribe to the Sunday Brew for more columns like this one delivered to your inbox. I’ll see you there, or maybe around town.

Story tips from the produce aisle

Jennifer P. Brown

Jennifer P. Brown is the founder and editor of Hoptown Chronicle. You can reach her at