Griscom: How do you say goodbye?

Griscom: How do you say goodbye?

May 23rd, 2010 by Tom Griscom in Opinion Columns

The placement of any item in the daily newspaper leads to a certain amount of questioning: Why?

For a doorway into the community for the day is found in the stories, photos, illustrations and promotions to inside material that compose the front page.

Some may think there is a great science that goes into the selection process or a formula that is used; there is not.

Those choices are influenced by the community of readers who are the lifeblood of any business, and in particular, the newspaper.

There are stories of record but there also are those that assist in setting priorities; in a few instances, there may even be a nudge in one direction or another.

The "Shape" series that appeared throughout the Times Free Press for the past year and was recognized with the community service award from the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists is but one example of attempting to change behavior.

One of the more difficult decisions comes when someone in the community dies.

Does the person remain on the obituary page in the second section or receive a little more attention with a separate story?

When does someone move to the front of a section, to either the Metro page or the front page? How is that decision made?

Once more there is no formula. It comes from a sense of community and those who will continue to give shape to the basic form of the community long after their days walking among us are over.

Jack Lupton is such a person.

While many mourn the loss of a family member or friend, his memory and his outreach will continue.

Yes, there are buildings in the community that will stand as monuments to his vision.

There are organizations that flourish, and there are initiatives that are anchored on funding from his foundation, Lyndhurst.

There are changes in attitudes, bringing together people from different walks of life and different color of skin to pool their talents and resources to break down manmade barriers of intolerance.

Has progress been made? Yes. Is the work complete? No, but that is the legacy that Mr. Lupton leaves and the challenge yet unanswered.

He made the investment in his community, nudging many who were more comfortable in their own sandbox to step into one much larger, less defined and with a measure of risk.

In his death is the opportunity to help many who are longtime residents as well as those who have been here a few years learn of the "Chattanooga miracle."

A man with a vision chose to invest in the city of his family and to share his wealth of talent, leadership and financial resources to make it a better place now and well into the future.

A front page in the newspaper is the place to display on any day those events that affect the lives and livelihoods of the citizens.

Remembering Jack Lupton at the time of his death is such an event.

To reach Tom Griscom, call 423-757-6472 or e-mail