Here was a guy who eight months ago launched a print newspaper in his native southern Iowa town of 1, far adrift from any bustling metro. Not to mention that his Wayne County Independent is the second newspaper in town. Selby is neither an idealistic newbie chasing an entrepreneurial dream nor a grizzled vet trying to plow a desperate path to retirement.
And how the Independent already has followers on Facebook.
Speaking as a fellow journalist, it helps to work with colleagues who can cut you down to size and keep you humble. Selby had written for Corydon's existing newspaper, the Times-Republican. Publisher-editor Rhonda Bennett began there 31 years ago as a receptionist and worked her way through the operation.
Selby's run at the Times-Republican ended last year in one of those quit-or-fired scenarios that is common and in this case doesn't much interest me. A newsroom without some conflict would be a dull place to work.
But Selby in short order has built a base of about subscribers and sells about papers per week. His office is even the Times-Republican's former digs. His undergraduate degree is in graphic de. She has won awards for her fiction and poetry and has written a young adult novel, a paranormal mystery.
She also intends to become an elementary schoolteacher. Jennifer spent a lot of time in and around Corydon during her childhood in nearby Chariton. But she and Selby never crossed paths until their friendship blossomed as fellow students and teaching assistants in Ames.
Now the couple's 5-year-old son is named after him. Issue one, volume one of the Wayne County Independent, Aug. Therefore I began the Wayne County Independent. This newspaperman's heart burns with the mercurial fire of a novelist, not the blunt righteous indignation of an investigative journalist.
He's less interested in what he calls the "little squabbles" of local government and officials, more a student of Aldous Huxley and Joseph Campbell. He took Selby's father, Wes, to crime scenes.
The boy, for instance, was told to help keep the pigs away from the body of a farmer who had committed suicide. Another haunting image handed down through the family came from a car wreck: Two teenage boys had plunged into the river.
And that was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg of all the horror that Wes would witness in Vietnam. That helped fuel what he considers to be his finest work to date, some of his last stories for the Times-Republican.
However, in some cases, it only added more questions. That's the inevitable result of clear writing enabled by rigorous journalism.
Insatiable curiosity is not only what drives the journalist to chase a story but also helps us appreciate every new day until we meet our ultimate deadline. This year in the s of the Independent, Selby wrote about the century-old legacy of the renowned Shane Hill baseball team — the story that became an online home run.
The ball team was a literal farm team that won 85 percent of its games, was packed with talent and played a final reunion game in The stone bases now are piled around a dead elm tree. On one hand, maybe it makes for an easy joke that the century-old ghosts of baseball players rate front- news in Wayne County.
Yet both Selby and his Times-Republican counterpart are mapping out the digital futures of their newspapers, not ready to give up on their friends and neighbors. Which, you know, is killing us. Selby aims to grow beyond 1, subscribers on the path to satisfying official legal status as an Iowa newspaper.
A framed aerial photo on the independent's office wall shows Selby's family farmstead six miles north of the Missouri border where his father was born. Kyle Munson can be reached at or kmunson dmreg. Facebook Twitter .
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