By NEMS Daily Journal
Sid Salter, one of the state’s leading political columnists, will leave his job at the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson to become journalist-in-residence at Mississippi State University, effective March 1. He answered these questions from the Daily Journal about his upcoming career change.
Q:What factors weighed in your decision to leave the newsroom for academia?
A:I was the first Kelly Gene Cook Chair in Journalism at Ole Miss back in the 1990s and found that I really enjoyed interacting with students at the college level. My late friend and business partner S. Gale Denley, the legendary Ole Miss journalism educator, had a tremendous influence on my life and work. This opportunity at Mississippi State University gives me the chance to work with students in both journalism and political science and to grow and develop what I believe is the most significant repository of congressional, political and journalism special collections in Mississippi at MSU’s Mitchell Memorial Library.
There is also the matter of the venue. I am a Bulldog. I have never made any secret of the fact that I bleed Mississippi State maroon. I love the university and I love Starkville.
This is a chance for me to serve an institution that has given me so much and to perhaps influence a new generation of MSU-trained journalists who will help shape public opinion in Mississippi.
Q:What will be your primary role at Mississippi State, the mission for which you were hired, so to speak?
A:I see my primary role as helping young people achieve success. First and foremost, my charge is spending time with students pursuing careers in journalism, public service and politics. But the leadership at MSU has also charged me with growing and expanding the library’s existing special collections and driving increased awareness and utilization of those materials through seminars and other opportunities for students and the public. I also want to facilitate as much interaction as possible between MSU students and practicing journalists at the state and national levels.
Q:What changes should readers expect in the focus or subject matter of your columns, given your new setting and responsibilities?
A:With the university’s blessing, I will continue to write my syndicated columns twice weekly. In light of doing that in an academic setting, I plan to focus more on public policy analysis and less on intensely partisan matters.
But as I have tried to do for three decades, my goal will continue to be to write about public policy in a manner that is fair, that offers both sides of an issue and that stirs public debate. I think that’s what opinion writing is supposed to do.