For What It's Worth column image
You might be able to find me in the background of this picture taken on a sunny day during the Reader's Choice Awards Luncheon hosted by the Greatest Gift Catalog Ever.

Our first two months at the Fort Worth Report have been a blur of activity.

One event I attended stands out because of all the remarkable people involved: the Reader’s Choice Awards Luncheon hosted by the Greatest Gift Catalog Ever at The Shops at Clearfork. The luncheon honored the people who run nonprofit organizations in Fort Worth and Tarrant County.

We’re newcomers to the nonprofit landscape, and organizer Elliot Goldman was kind enough to invite me to represent the Report. You may read more about the many deserving nonprofits such as the Alzheimer’s Association and the Hope Center for Autism by clicking here.

Goldman gave a pep talk for all the nonprofit leaders emerging from a challenging pandemic year. He offered these quotes that inspired him:

Elliot Goldman presents the Spirt of Community Award to Molly Snyder during the Reader’s Choice Awards Luncheon hosted by the Greatest Gift Catalog Ever.
  • President Teddy Roosevelt: “Start where you are. Use what you have. And do what you can.”
  • And this well-known saying: “Success is not bought, only rented. And payment is due all the time.”

He also offered his own advice:

  • If you are having difficulties dealing with the pandemic, you are not alone.
  • Be kind and have as much empathy for yourself as you do for others. 

He spoke from the heart about how hard the pandemic has been on him and how “society does not let you honestly talk about your problems.” 

“In many cases, you run businesses and non-profits, or are community leaders,” he told those gathered. “And let’s be candid, showing weakness is not good for business. 

“For me, the collapse and then the un-structuring of my business, the loss of my father, and the inability to interact with people has been difficult.  Also, having to give up many of the things I loved in life, including the simple things like watching the news, having conversations with people about what is going on in the world, and the decay of basic human interaction makes some days when I wake up really difficult.”

His comments made me think about my own difficult pandemic year and the huge challenge we face at the Report of bringing people back to fact-based news that they will want to discuss with family, friends and co-workers.

Our mission is to educate, engage and empower people through nonpartisan local journalism. A healthy community needs to have constructive community conversations about shared concerns and issues. We will naturally differ on our opinions about the issues, but we will find solutions only if we start the conversation with a shared understanding of the facts.

Is this possible to do in our polarized society in which so many have tuned out of the democratic process? On some mornings, I despair that it’s an impossible quest.

Then, I have lunch with people working so hard to make a difference.

For What It’s Worth

Editor’s note: Publisher/CEO Chris Cobler is a nostalgic Baby Boomer who likes to name his columns after 1960s protest anthems. When he was editor of the Washburn University Review in 1980 in Topeka, Kan., he called his column “Blowin’ in the Wind.” Now that he’s in Fort Worth, he can’t resist the title of another of his favorite songs, “For What It’s Worth.”

Although the songs are political, Cobler pledges to keep his columns focused on the community and not partisan politics. The mission of the Fort Worth Report is to bring people together around fact-based journalism, making this line in the Buffalo Springfield song especially meaningful: “Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong.”

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Chris Cobler

Chris Cobler is the CEO and publisher of the Fort Worth Report. He may be reached at chris.cobler@fortworthreport.org. His journalism philosophy: Our success flows from the old-fashioned values of serving...

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