The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

August 27, 2013

Our View: Source of support for Joplin

We’ve learned since the 2011 tornado that support comes from unexpected sources. It even comes from newspaper folks.

That’s right. When the chips were really down for 33 employees here at The Joplin Globe, the Missouri Press Association stepped up to the plate and gathered donations from across the world.

Then it set about making a documentary film about the importance of newspapers in the face of disaster. That film, “Deadline in Disaster,” has gone on to win national awards and recognition. More important, it has opened up discussions about covering severe weather at locations across America. Next up? Phoenix, Ariz. Not that Phoenix has tornadoes, but the National Newspaper Association is mighty interested in how Joplin is doing.

But the press association, which comprises newspapers across Missouri, including ours, didn’t stop after making the documentary.

In the spring of 2012, the  Missouri Press Association’s education services created a page for the classroom focusing on tornadoes. It used tips from Globe’s reporters and experiences here in Joplin as the subject matter. That page was used in many newspapers and was a public service in educating children about weather.

Now, the MPA has found yet another way to tell Joplin’s story. It is working with the a writer to adapt a children’s book about Tara Prosser and Lilly the rescue dog into a newspaper series for the annual Reading Across Missouri project. Lilly and her owner worked for 14 days after the Joplin tornado going through buildings, double-checking and triple-checking for survivors and for bodies.

Dawn Kitchell, education services director for the Missouri Press Association and Foundation, said that Lilly’s story is being adapted into an eight-part series that will be published in newspapers around the state and spotlighted in the classroom.

“One of the things we look for with Reading Across Missouri is to tie in history,” Kitchell told our reporter. “The Joplin tornado is part of our history now.”

The Missouri Press Association is a part of Joplin’s history as well.

It’s a story we’re proud to share.

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