More Memories of Otis A. Brumby Jr.
by Neely Young
September 14, 2012 12:00 AM | 1099 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I worked with Otis Brumby in mid 1970s, and was his first publisher of The Cherokee Tribune after he purchased the newspaper from Ralph and Buster Owens. He passed away after a long bout with cancer and as I left his funeral Wednesday at Marietta’s First Methodist Church, I remembered a speech he gave in November 2004 at that church where expounded on his views on community journalism Otis Brumby took his lumps and criticisms for his aggressive editorial stands against Cobb County’s local political structure. Yet, he was respected by newspaper readers and also from everyone in the community. Brumby’s thoughts on producing his newspaper, The Marietta Daily Journal, are universal wisdom for all media. In his speech Brumby related: “Publishing a daily newspaper like the Marietta Daily Journal with its long history dating to 1866 is a great trust and honor. With its daily deadlines, it never ceases to be a tremendous responsibility and challenge.” “A newspaper should have a passion for accuracy. Accuracy gives us our credibility. And credibility is all we have.” “Newspapers should be informative, enlightening and even entertaining. They must by their very nature report the good with the bad or the warts with the beauty spots.” “Newspaper personnel should never use the newspaper for personal or political gain. Newspapers should never intentionally harm or hurt anyone or any institution. Editors should be like that good policeman who would never think of abusing his authority or trust with his pistol or nightstick.” “Editorially, a newspaper should be thought provoking and an advocate for change and progress. To effectively advocate change, it is sometimes necessary to point out community problems, and shortcomings.” “Newspaper editors should want the best for their communities, just like parents want the best for their children.” That year, in 2004, The Marietta Daily Journal was picked as the best newspaper in the state by the Georgia Press Association. If fact, the Journal has won that award so many times it would be hard to match by any other Georgia newspaper. Otis was listed many times in Georgia Trend’s 100 most influential people in the state. Last year we placed him in our Hall of Fame along with notables including U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, Gov. Zell Miller, Bill Shipp and many others. I will always remember his last quote: “Newspaper editors should always want the best for their communities, just like parents want the best for their children.” I believe this is how he will be remembered; as a good parent, always wanting the best for Marietta, Cobb County, our state, and for this great country, The United States of America.

Neely Young is publisher of Georgia Trend magazine.

As a 40-year resident of Cobb County, I had the pleasure of knowing Otis for more than 20 years. A long-time supporter of this institution, Otis was one of the founding board members of the Kennesaw Junior College Foundation when it began in 1969. As a trustee, he was involved in the early growth of what has since become Kennesaw State University. In 1993, he was named a Kennesaw State University Trustee Emeritus, allowing him to continue his involvement with the institution, and that is a title which he still holds today. He was a true force to be reckoned with in this county, and he will be dearly missed by many, including for his service to Kennesaw State.

Kennesaw State University President Dr. Dan Papp

Throughout my years in politics, Otis was always available for a phone call, a sit-down meeting in his private office, an on-the-record interview, or an off-the-record lunch at the Country Club (usually his treat). His sense of humor, his inherent sense of fairness, and his deep knowledge of and experience in the political milieu, were always his hallmarks. Jeri and I will miss him dearly.

Former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr (R-Marietta)

To me, Otis Brumby represents the kind of journalism that a community deserves. He was fair. He was knowledgeable. I was always amazed at his ability, I think his appreciation for the Constitution, for example, I marveled at the understanding and the ability to take that knowledge and use it in his work. He has a legacy that we won’t see again in journalism where he was willing to take some risks to get some issues before the public. His ability to question just to get to the heart of the matter was amazing.

Betty Gray, former Cobb Board of Education chairwoman
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