I want to thank the Times-Journal for the very well written story about me by Steven Stiefel in the current issue of DeKalb Living. I appreciate Steven, Tricia Clinton and Derek Jackson for the very nicely done magazine. I am honored by this story.
The real story here is not me but the Times-Journal. When I first began my job in tourism 12 years ago, the Times-Journal was one of the first companies I heard from. The publisher at the time was J.D. Davidson and the editor was Jared Felkins. They asked me if I wanted to continue writing a column each week on behalf of DeKalb Tourism. I was very excited to keep the tradition alive that I believe began when Patty Tucker was Director, if not prior to her. I was excited to have a voice that spoke to the community to talk about what is going on in tourism.
The Times-Journal has been, in my opinion, the key component for us to have a voice locally on a regular basis. Our marketing and advertising is primarily geared for out of town populations that we would love to have here, as tourists. The T.J. has given us a significant voice locally.
Our Magazine size travel guides, which I feel is the best travel guide in the state, are a partnership with the Times-Journal. The T.J. regularly gives us front page coverage on major tourism functions and they are the best printed source for every local event going on in our area. They are truly a one-stop read for local and county-wide news, stories about our local people and businesses and about our schools, our local government agencies, elected officials, city councils and county commission.
I hope everyone realizes just how special it is to have a full three-day a week newspaper in our city. We should never take this for granted. Despite the fact the T.J. has been around all of our lives and generations before us, many cities have struggled to keep their papers alive as the way we communicate has changed significantly over the last decade.
Fort Payne and DeKalb County is a very special place to live and work and the Times-Journal is a very important part of our local culture and our local history.
— John Dersham is the president and CEO of DeKalb Tourism.