Lindell Kay – Reporter for The Rocky Mount Telegram – Saying Adieu

I left for the University of Kentucky declaring I would major in journalism, that is until I came under the spell of my freshman advisor, head of the Sociology Department. I had grown up with the Chicago Tribune that loomed large over the city. I have had many a serious discussion about the state of journalism today or lack thereof. Not since the famous journalists of a bygone era populated the scene has there been a time like now–admit it, you have done it too– When Lindell Kay started his series of exposes on the City Council and Rocky Mounts leadership, night after night to this day, I look at the app on my phone in the middle of the night to see what Lindell has written.

I highly recommend Harold Evans autobiography, My Paper Chase-True Stories of Vanished Times for the most marvelous read about his career that led to the Editorship of the London Times and beyond. He knew everyone in the business when journalism was investigative versus today’s state of things; someone’s opinion! Here are a few lines for Lindell Kay’s move, much to his pleasure because now, “I can even meet my wife for lunch.” Harold Evans writes, So it was that in June 1961, Westminster chess master Fenby (the editor) designated me as the bishop to move diagonally north from Manchester to edit the Northern Echo…”

We owe a debt of gratitude that the Telegram saw fit to give Lindell his head, put his investigative skills to work, and let him have at it. Those under investigation were caught in the headlights of countless hours of work going through records, e-mails, making telephone calls, listening to numerous private conversations when people were emboldened to come forth.

Tom Rachman has written a delightful novel, The Imperfecionists. Set in Rome it is about the topsy-turvy private lives of the reporters, editors, and executives of an international English-language newspaper as they struggle to keep it and themselves afloat. I loved it. In saying adieu to reporter Lindel Kay, with our thanks for his contribution towards bringing the skullduggery of things to our attention, we hope he will remember his readers here as ‘a sort of fellowship’ who have wakened in the night just for him.

“For many, especially those in remote locales, the paper is their only link to the greater world, to the big cities they left, or the big cities they have never seen, only built in their minds. The readers constitute a sort of fellowship that never meets, united by love and loathed by bylines, by screwed-up photo captions, by the glorious corrections box.” Tom Rachman

Our Best, from your readers!

The Rocky Mount Telegram – Making a Mess at Rush Hour!

Having a day on my own in London, I spent part of it on Charing Cross Road in and out of the bookstores that were still open in those years. I was collecting Beverley Nichols on that jaunt and imagining that at any moment I would see Anthony Hopkins coming towards me straight from one of my favorite movies, 84 Charing Cross Road. Headed to the tube with a few wrapped books, I felt a restraining hand on my elbow. I had started to step off the curb forgetting which direction the traffic was moving.  It was a stranger holding my arm. He said, “Don’t do that luv, it makes such a mess at rush hour.” I have never forgotten his kindness or the wonderful humor of this moment.  I think it is safe to say that the Rocky Mount Telegram has made quite a mess at rush hour!

As part of this same trip, Princess Diana was tragically killed in a car chase by the paparazzi. I’d read enough English mysteries by then to have no doubt that the government was involved. Riding the tube later that same day not a word was spoken. Everyone had their heads buried in the newspapers. I was reminded of this experience when the Rocky Mount Telegram’s staff writer, Lindell John Kay began the expose on the City Manager and Landis Faulcon, Director of Community & Business Development — and anyone else that deserves this scrutiny.  Of course, here in Rocky Mount, everyone is talking! Phone calls, e-mails, clandestine meetings, Facebook posts,  conversations over lunch, dinner, or standing in the driveway. There are people worrying about how deep this investigation will go, some sorry they backed the wrong horse and those of us who are hopeful and ecstatic that at last the truth is being told. Later today many of us will be headed to City Hall to make our presence known while the Committee of the Whole meets behind closed doors.

I grew up reading The Chicago Tribune and thought I was headed to college to become a journalism major. I resent the state of journalism today. I canceled my Telegram subscription as a point of honor. But wait, a reporter actually investigating! Checking records, laying out a fact-based case step by step. Can you believe it? An investigation long overdue about things known, suspected,  rumored, but usually stifled one way or another. I need to subscribe again in thanksgiving for Lindell John Kay and the revelations that are being spelled out, no holds barred.

When the taillights of at least two cars head out of Rocky Mount,  let us hope and pray that the damage left behind continues to be investigated. Surely this must include the City Council who hired the City Manager in the first place. There is quite a mess to clean up. Now is our chance thanks to The Telegram who have dared to name those who must not be named and expose what I call the shenanigans of City Government.