The Madison County Record Sep. 25, 2005, 5:52am

It isn’t easy being the messenger.

Reflecting upon The Record’s first twelve months covering the Madison and St. Clair County Courts, this much is certain.

Nobody likes to be the bearer of bad news, especially news as awful as that emanating out of a bona fide “judicial hellhole.” Court reports, by nature, are depressing enough. Toss in a local plaintiff’s bar as audacious as ours, and the doom is raised to another level.

Covering constant conflict—- real and manufactured—- can be a drag. Just ask our reporters. But for a functioning representative democracy, it is flat-out essential.

In starting our newspaper last September, we endeavored to step up the collective local conversation about our courts. We wanted to get our communities talking by taking on taboo subjects and stimulating aggressive debate. And all sides—- remember, our first guest columnist was Randy Bono—- would be welcome.

Hearing our plan pre-implementation, one wise advisor predicted that we’d end up with a brick thrown through our storefront office window. But the glass has stayed intact.

We remembered that prophecy last week, while taking in The Record’s first anniversary party, hosted beneath our giant picture window.

Generously organized with the help of our sales director Joyce Smith and the Edwardsville/Glen Carbon Chamber of Commerce-- we had all the typical trappings. There was food and drink and a photographer who snapped action shots of our thoughtful attendees; of most of them, anyway.

Several made a point of staying out of focus. They were some of the most important ones; supporters of our paper who, rather than throwing bricks, have kept us in the loop to further our cause of free discussion.

That’s life as the messenger. Sometimes, even good friends don’t want to be publicly associated with you. So long as we’re making a difference, that’s ok with us.

Thank you, Madison and St. Clair Counties, for embracing The Record over our first year of publication. We couldn’t have made it this far without your input and feedback. From our first anniversary, may there be many more.

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