Back to my roots
Like a lot of journalists, I began my career as a sportswriter. And I became a sportswriter because I couldnít become a professional athlete.
Like a lot of young boys then and today, I grew up dreaming about playing pro baseball or football. As the realization slowly dawned on me in my high school years that I wasnít going to accomplish that dream, I moved in a new direction.
Growing up, I always read the sports pages whenever I had the chance. And I had always enjoyed writing. So in my junior year of high school, I signed up for a journalism class.
I found it very interesting, especially when our teacher brought up sports writing. There werenít a lot of boys in the class, for whatever reason. And the young ladies in the class werenít especially knowledgeable about sports ó thatís not to say that girls canít be sports fans, just that these particular girls were not. So when the teacher started talking about football positions like fullback and middle linebacker, it was Greek to almost everyone. But I was fluent in the subject. Therefore, I was assigned by default to write some sports stories for the school paper. I turned them in, assuming they were passable but not great. The teacher, though, seemed very impressed.
We had our school paper printed at the office of a small weekly paper, and my teacher surprised me by telling me that the editor of that little paper wanted to meet me. Thus began my first paying job as a newspaperman ó writing a high school sports roundup for 25 cents per column inch. That translated to about $15 for filling up half a page.
Fast-forward a few years and I had my first full-time job in journalism. I became the sports editor of the Baxter Bulletin in Mountain Home in the summer of 1989. I spent a year there before moving on to the Arkansas Democrat in Little Rock.
Iíve worn a lot of hats in my career. I was a one-man sports staff in Mountain Home. Then I became part of the largest staff in the state at the Democrat and later the Democrat-Gazette. Eventually I moved to the news side and became managing editor of the Pine Bluff Commercial. Then, in June 2014, I came to Carroll County. I was exhausted from 70-hour weeks in a dying town. I needed a change of scenery and a more realistic schedule, and I found all that here.
Last October, our former sports editor Ty Loftis left for a job closer to his hometown in Oklahoma. (Ty and I are fourth cousins, by the way, not father and son as some folks assumed.) I filled in handling sports while we looked for a replacement. Eventually, publisher Bob Moore and I agreed that I would assume the sports editorís duties on a permanent basis. Iím still the managing editor, and I still cover news stories and manage our newsroom staff. But I also get to spend some time covering our local sports teams, and Iím having a blast.
We are blessed with some outstanding coaches and athletes in Carroll County and everyone has been kind and welcoming.
I never got to be a professional athlete, or a major league beat writer. But thatís OK. I get to do a job I love in a place I love, and Iíd call that a win.
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Scott Loftis is managing editor for Carroll County Newspapers. His email address is CarrollCountyNews@cox-internet.com.