Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tennessee losing a journalism giant whose name you don't know; Cherilyn Crowe will be missed

When people talk of journalism giants in Tennessee, they cite John Seigenthaler and Phil Williams. And they are worthy of such recognition.

But the top one for me is Cherilyn Crowe, the producer for all the NewsChannel 5Plus programs aimed at touching readers and their values and what is important in their communities.

And if journalism is to prosper in an increasing competitive world, then Crowe's example must be followed.

Crowe knows just about everyone in Nashville, and you can see that by the diversity of guests on her shows and issues considered. And she even stooped way down and put me on the air a few times. It was a privilege.

You never saw Crowe before the camera. She always was behind it making things happen. And when there was no taping going on, she was making calls around the community for guests and issues or out among us herself.

I got this note from her about the new and exciting opportunity presented to her:

I am moving to Washington, D.C. in April to take a new job. I’ll be working at the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty (www.bjconline.org). It’s a group that works on making sure everyone continues to respect the 2 religion clauses in the First Amendment.

In other words, they work exclusively for religious freedom for everyone (not just Baptists), and they make sure that government does not establish one religion over another. Part of me is sad about leaving a town and a station I love so much, but I am excited about the opportunity to work in D.C. and for a group I really respect.

She'll be great in that job, which unfortunately means we won't ever see her back in Nashville. We'll be the poorer for it.

But if her fellow journalists including me learn from her example of embracing the community first as a good person and then as a provider of important information, we'll make sure someone of her quality emerges from our ranks to take her place.

God bless you, Cherilyn, and thank you for who you were here and who you will be in Washington -- still making a big difference in people's lives.

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