Community has lost 2 respected journalists

Susan Canfora, Susan Parker, Greg Bassett and Liz Holland.

Susan Parker and Liz Holland were, for decades, extraordinarily dedicated community journalists for Delmarva Now and The Daily Times.

A public reminder of their commitment to this area should accompany their well-deserved retirements — especially during a time in which journalists everywhere are criticized for the important work they do.

It is an honor of mine to have worked with Susan and Liz, first for the same media group and then in the same office. They were community journalists in full, their dedication measured not in flashy eye-candy journalism, but in the unheralded backbone of the trade — providing day-in, day-out coverage and perspective of our life and times.

They also were thoughtful, talented writers, eminently readable and accurate, and seemingly without an iota of ego or conceit.

I admired their skill and dedication to the craft, and their work deservedly won many awards.

I always covertly coveted Susan’s job of writing editorials and coordinating community engagement until I saw firsthand the work involved, and how great she was in the role.

I quickly realized she was one of the most dedicated journalists I’d never known, and a much better fit in that position.

I overtly coveted her vast community network — Susan seemingly knew everybody in town and introduced me to many people. She was an ambassador for Delmarva Now and the region, and an essential part of the tapestry of the Lower Shore.

As an editorial writer, Susan was resolute and unwavering in her push for government openness, community togetherness, and civility above all.

And she was strong and resilient in the face of the criticism that comes with the job.

I respected that Liz, at one time, essentially ran Delmarva Now’s Princess Anne office by herself — covering meetings, designing the paper, answering the phones, greeting customers, writing stories, and taking photographs.

She was the epitome of the community journalist.

I admired Liz’s vast knowledge of the people and the area. I appreciated her authoritative, informed, professional writing style while covering Salisbury and Wicomico County government. I liked how she could report a tinderbox story without enraging everybody in town.

With Susan and Liz, what I most respected is that they set down roots where they reported. I’m not fond of vagabond journalists who use communities as stepping stones for their own careers. Journalism isn’t some adult form of hopscotch, and shouldn’t be.

True community journalists become, over the years and decades, essential and integral components of their communities.

Susan Parker and Liz Holland were exactly that.

Ted Shockley owns and operates the monthly newsmagazine Eastern Shore First on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. He is a former Executive Editor of The Daily Times in Salisbury.


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