David Webb knew community journalism – and more

Published 5:00 am Monday, September 30, 2002

I lost a good friend last Saturday, David Webb, the editor andpublisher of the Franklin Advocate in Meadville and the Wilk-AmiteRecord in Gloster. He died here in Brookhaven after suffering aheart attack while visiting his physical therapist.

David was one of those people you just liked. He had that giftof gab that allowed people to quickly warm up to him. As ajournalist, he could get the basic facts quickly. He was a treasuretrove of information about Mississippi politics and events ofSouthwest Mississippi. David was a walking book and knew how totell a story.

Since we printed his papers each week, I had to opportunity tovisit with him regularly. He would stick his head in my office tocomment on the issue of the day, tell me a story or just say hello.Many times he would chide me on an editorial or story that he mightnot have agreed on how we handled. Other times, with hisdistinctive laugh, he would say let me know of his approval.

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As a community newspaper editor, David understood the power of acommunity newspaper and used that position to make his communitybetter. He worked tirelessly on promoting Franklin County. Heunderstood the importance of political contacts and used hiscontacts to keep his beloved community on their minds.

Lake Okhissa in Franklin County, by no small part, was due toDavid’s efforts. For 40 years he pushed the idea. In the nextseveral weeks the spillway will be closed and the 1,000 acre lakewill begin filling as his dream comes true. The economic impact ofthe lake will help build not only Franklin County, but all ofSouthwest Mississippi.

His political connections were amazing, and the stories aboutpolitical events were even better. While he tended to lean towardDemocrats, his connections — as well as his support — crossedparty lines. He understood the importance of the best man in theoffice and worked tirelessly to help the candidates he supported.As one individual told me Monday, “If you needed something done,you called David Webb.”

The Mississippi Senate adjourned Wednesday in his honor.

It is not easy editing the community’s newspaper. At some pointyou are going to step on the toes of someone you’d rather not. Butas a community editor, David understood the importance ofimpartiality and credibility for the betterment of the community aswell as the survival of the newspaper. If you walk the streets ofMeadville, Bude and Gloster, you will find readers who appreciateand admire his efforts to keep them informed.

Franklin County, as did all of southwest Mississippi, lost agood friend Saturday.

We know as he rests on that hill overlooking his beloved huntingcamp near McCall Creek, he’s up there looking down on all of uswith a smile on his face and a story ready to tell.

Goodbye David.