I write this with mixed emotions. First, Jimmy has done a great job with his writing/analysis in everything he’s done at Hawgs Illustrated and Whole Hog Sports. He was the personal choice to work with this merged and expanded website. He is a jewel. Second, he’s just a quality person who makes everyone glad to be around him (unless he tries to tell me about my fashion choices).
Our loss is Walmart’s gain. He will rise through the ranks to no telling where. It’s a huge jump for him in many ways and will allow him to provide for his family in a way that most journalists can not. In short, he had to do it, with my blessing.
Jimmy’s talents are huge. He’s just scratching the surface now.
You know when someone’s good when you open a story to edit it and don’t hit a key stroke. Not one. That’s what you get with Jimmy’s stories. I fixed a typo once. Once. Years ago.
It’s been like that for a long time, dating back to when he sent free-lance stories for our print magazine while in college. I wouldn’t hit a key stroke for anything, just write a headline. You think that’s fun for an editor?
Jimmy left a strong impression in his time away from us at Longview, Texas. He did a wonderful job covering a high school program the way I cover the Razorbacks. I knew then he was ready to come back to Northwest Arkansas. He did a great job covering Springdale High for the NWA DG, before Matt and I conspired to swipe him, with a big thumbs up from Rusty Turner, the boss at the paper.
It seems that anything I’ve ever told Jimmy through the years he’s gotten instantly. Now, I haven’t had to tell him much, but when you say, “Maybe this story needs more balance,” there’s a nod of the head and you see balance in everything he writes going forward. I don’t see balance in a lot of the young writers. It’s something that comes gradually. Jimmy got it instantly. When you have balance, you can be firm about something on either side and it resonates.
It took me a long time to understand balance. I saw it executed by both Orville Henry and Bill Connors but didn’t know what it was until at about age 30 someone described it in a difficult piece that Bill had to write on a coach that had made a personal choice mistake. I think it may have been Switzer getting a DUI. The way Bill wrote it covered it perfectly. You don’t just do that in a lucky way. You have to be talented and poised as a writer to do that.
I’ll say a big thank you to Jimmy for all he’s done here. I know he’s going to do even better and bigger work at his next stop.