By Tim Timmons
About 15 years ago I was sitting in the break room of The Seymour Tribune across from Charlie Biggs.
The late great Hoosier journalist was telling me why the Hoosier State Press Association is an excellent organization.
Truth to tell, I can’t remember the exact words Charlie used that day.
At the time we were printing Charlie’s weekly newspaper from Hope. Every once in a while I had the privilege of sitting and visiting with him while he waited to pick them up.
If you knew Charlie, you know he was a great storyteller. He was quick with a smile and could be just as quick when you deserved a jab.
But he was clearly passionate about a several things, one being his newspaper and another the state press association.
I remember he told me HSPA had been through some rough times, but it was still the best thing Indiana newspapers had going.
He said it was important for us all to stick together.
I was young(er) and remember looking at my expense budget while the folks at corporate seemingly fussed and fidgeted over every penny.
If I could drop those HSPA dues from my expenses it might help the bottom line … which would help with the corporate screaming … which would help … well, you get the idea.
However, Charlie wasn’t going to do business with a printer who wasn’t an HSPA member, and The Hope Star-Journal brought in more revenue than HSPA dues cost, so it was a simple decision.
But Charlie’s message about the importance of HSPA was not lost – then or now.
This month my term as your HSPA president comes to an end.
There are not sufficient words to express my gratitude for being able to be a part of this organization.
I was born in this great state, and other than a few years being held hostage in places like California, I was lucky enough to call Indiana home for much of my life. To be back and to help lead this organization is truly special.
I hope that my monthly ramblings in The Publisher have been a small help to some of you and at worst have not been too cumbersome.
My tenure can’t come to an end without some sincere thank-yous to people like HSPA’s Milissa Tuley.
Milissa has done a great job of taking this publication from what it was to the digital enterprise it is today.
She’s made the task of columnist much easier for a guy who had more than enough on his plate.
I mentioned the entire HSPA staff last month for all their hard work on the Annual Meetings. Of course they all do so much more.
The organization now moves upward. Greg Morris, publisher of the Indianapolis Business Journal, steps into the president’s role. CNHI’s Robyn McCloskey, publisher in Kokomo and Logansport, will be the vice president.
Greg has a great thought process and can cut to the heart of the matter with precise questions. Robyn is one of the best operators I’ve had the privilege of working with. The future of board leadership is in great hands.
For me, I want to leave asking a question I raised in a column about a year ago: Who put the ink in your veins?
Friends, we are in the information business during a time when information is of supreme importance.
I don’t know where it’s going. Not sure anyone does.
But as an industry, we are challenged to survive and challenged to once again thrive.
We need to find the answers, but we need to get past the constant negativity and stories of doom and gloom regarding our future.
There is no question in my mind that the future of newspapers can be as great as we want it to be.
We have to believe.
We have to be passionate.
And we have to help the next generation develop that passion like others did for us.
There are answers, and people are waiting for all of us to find them.
Thank you for the past year. It’s been an honor.
Tim Timmons is publisher of The Paper of Montgomery County (Crawfordsville) and The Times (Noblesville) and president of the HSPA board of directors.