Jon E. Garrett
Writing the future of journalism one post at a time


June 25, 2012

Big things have small beginnings

Whether you first heard the title of this post as a flippant line thrown out in the middle of a beautiful, if overambitious, movie epic, in the classic “Lawrence of Arabia,” or at your grandfather’s knee – it impacted you. Why? Because if anything, human beings are creatures of hope. An ounce of it can get us through a lifetime of oppression and poverty? Take it away, however, and all the riches and material comforts of the world cannot fill the emptiness its lack leaves in one’s soul.

Over the past couple of month’s I have been through trials that might have crushed mine, if not for the example of a remarkable woman. Shirley Cook was a respected educator, champion of the English language and the best mother a boy could have. Everything I am today I owe to her. When others discouraged, she said, “Press on.” When others doubted my abilities as a writer, she was there to assure me that they were wrong. Her comfort was a phone call away all these years and her courage I carried in my heart.

Earlier this year I took a leave of absence from my work as a sports editor for the Austin American-Statesman’s community newspaper group to help her in a time of need. She was very sick, had run a long race and despite fighting with every ounce of strength remaining in her body – died much too young. But along the way, despite the pain, she always found time to smile and joke. She remained true to herself, and as her son I owe her memory nothing less.

Journalism is in transition. The industry is trying to redefine itself; many of its practitioners are doing the same. Staffs are growing smaller, dailies are disappearing in some of the largest cities in America and quality has suffered across the board as journalists struggle to meet the demands of readers with fewer resources, less pay and working longer hours than ever. It is neither an ideal situation, nor a sustainable one if journalism is to remain an integral and useful tool for our society.

It is with all that in mind that I sadly announce my departure from the Round Rock Leader after six years. It has been a great ride, one that I did not want to end, but sometimes in life to get where you want to go you have to find a new mode of transportation, road and make unexpected detours. In the meantime I want to thank all those who have made my time at Round Rock special.

First and foremost I would like to thank the kids of Round Rock ISD, Hutto and Round Rock Christian Academy. It was a privilege to cover your exploits on and off the field; The Round Rock Express baseball organization, which I’ve covered for the greater part of its existence for one publication or another, is one of the classiest operations, top-to-bottom, that I have ever dealt with, and my colleagues at the Round Rock Leader and Austin American-Statesman, who made me a better writer, journalist and person along the way.

Big things have small beginnings. Consider this short post a tiny first step.


About the Author

Jon E. Garrett



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  1. Well said, Jon! Bigger and better things are surely on the horizon for you!!

  2. Jennifer Wisian

    Wow, I didn’t even know you were thinking about leaving. It was nice meeting you at the Leader and good luck to wherever you are going to next.

  3. Jon—you made a difference in a lot of people’s lives. Good luck with you new endeavors.

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