Everybody missed it, but April 4 was National Hug a Newsperson Day. I didn’t receive a hug during the day, nor any since, but surely somebody in the news gathering business was hugged that day. If I had known, I would have driven to Knoxville and given Abby Ham a hug. She surely would have appreciated it.

I’m not sure exactly how official this day is, but a website called nationaltoday.com pointed it out and said it was time to “warm up the hugging muscles” for your favorite newsperson.

If you look at the website, it is geared totally toward TV newspeople. Only a single, small mention of newspaper laborers. But it says “newspeople,” not TV news personalities, so I’m gonna run with it.

The website gives three reasons you all love us. I’ve always suspected most of you harbor a secret crush on me, but it’s nice to have it officially confirmed. Anyway, those three reasons are:

1. It’s important to stay updated. You need to know what’s going on and who better to keep you updated than your local newsperson? We go out and talk to people you barely know exist (quick, name your county commissioner!) and let you know what they’re doing with those tax dollars you pay with a smile on your face.

2. They (we) put in the work. The site points out that morning TV news anchors get up between 2-4 a.m. to get the ball rolling and that reporters have to be ready to go at a moment’s notice. It also involves a lot of finger drumming on any available surface as you wait for a returned phone call or for something, anything, to happen.

3. They (we) are always professional. Well, we try to be. An election year can make us question our life choices and some of the crime stuff can make one wonder how the human race manages to keep going. I can only speak for myself, but I always try to be friendly and polite and not show any favoritism, though I don’t always agree with what someone says or believes.

These are the three ways the website said to celebrate National Hug a Newsperson Day:

1. Hug a newsperson (duh). I have to say people in Monroe County failed miserably on this count. I was out and about, more than available for a big ol’ bear embrace, and didn’t even get a handshake. I’m not even sure I got a smile. Or a wave. I was totally ignored. Just like any other day!

2. Read (or watch) the news. This was the only mention the website made of reading the news, and they were probably talking about websites or social media. But that’s all right. We have a website and a social media presence. At the small town level it can seem like you’re operating in a vacuum, but we know somebody somewhere is reading, and we appreciate it.

3. Drop your favorite local newsperson a line. Let ‘em know you like (or don’t like) what they’re doing. Tell them they couldn’t have been more right or more wrong. Be nice about it. I’ll converse with anyone, but if you turn hostile I’ll drop you faster than your favorite celebrity drops their spouse.

The website then surveyed 1,000 people to find out what they thought of newspeople. This was a dangerous thing to do in the age of Trump, but they managed to get some positive results out of it.

1. Twenty-four percent of people watch TV news on a daily basis. Really? Only 24 percent? So, all that hatred and vitriol we have for TV news comes from only 24 percent of the population?

2. Eighteen percent of people think it’s tough to be a newsperson today. Oh, they don’t know the half of it. While we all average out to be millionaires if you include the network news anchors, most of us live paycheck to paycheck and try not to think about the future. And the President hates us, so we have that.

3. Eight percent of people think TV news anchors are wearing sweatpants or pajamas under the table. Sure... And I only shave three times a week. Whatever.

4. Four percent of Americans would hug a newsperson if they could. Except in Monroe County!

5. Four percent think newspersons are sexy. Well, you know… this number would have been higher, but they also surveyed our spouses.

So, there it is. You missed out on giving me a hug. You’ll have to live with that guilt until April 4 next year. Try not to let it ruin your summer. I’ll be around for you to make it up to me next year. I think.

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