Tuesday, August 10, 2010

AP Part Two

Shortly after I got the call from the AP, I found out they had picked up another story over the Fourth of July weekend. It turns out they don't call every time they decide to run a story. In fact, if your paper subscribes to the Associated Press, it can run anything the AP selects and vice versa. It's all very ho-hum, but for a young writer, it's a rush.

CRAWFORD, MISS.—Jerry Hairston Sr. stood in an empty field in southern Lowndes County on Monday.

As he stepped into the grass, he lifted his hands to grasp an imaginary bat and took a swing at a baseball only he could see.

With his imposing athletic build, the 58-year-old man knocked the invisible ball out of the park. He watched it sail over the imaginary fences.

He was back at his roots, back where his father's story began and where it will continue.

Jerry Hairston's father, Sam Hairston, was born in Crawford in a small house on Plum Grove Road, a meandering one-and-a-half-lane street that winds its way through county fields. He came up through the Lowndes school system, and he loved baseball. (Read more at the Commercial Dispatch.)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Picked up by the Associated Press

I got a call about a month ago from Rogelio Solis, the staff photographer at the Jackson bureau of the Associated Press. He talked fast, but he said he liked my pictures from a recent story I did on a rope swing in Caledonia, Miss., and that the AP wanted to run them and the story. The AP has a really strict policy on timeliness, so he was trying to make sure the photos had been taken within the last day or two.

This was the first time I found out one of my stories had gotten picked up, and it felt good.

Seth Putnam/Dispatch Staff

CALEDONIA -- It's an oasis on a sweltering day. With a dearth of water-based options in the Golden Triangle, it's no wonder people flock to the Buttahatchie River to play on the rope swings at the Lawrence Bridge.

On a given afternoon, someone is always there. On the weekend, the place is crowded; the wait in line for the swings is sometimes as much as 10 minutes.

"People chill out in the water all across the river," said Thomas Kimbrough, 20, of Sulligent, Ala. "It's always packed out. We come out here every day and stay the night on the weekend."

It's a place where teenagers go to share cigarettes, and if they're lucky, sip beer an older sibling or friend has provided.

"Ain't nothing but a bunch of rednecks!" Kimbrough grinned as he stepped up to the swing.

Read more at the Commercial Dispatch.