Joslyn served the public and the press

IT’S A RARE INDIVIDUAL who spends a good part of their life serving the public in not just one but two different areas.

One of those rare individuals was Bob Joslyn – “Joz” to those who knew and worked with him – who passed away earlier this week.

A 1961 Plymouth High School graduate – who probably deserves his place on the PHS Alumni Wall of Fame – Joslyn’s main career was as journalist.

He brought his many journalistic talents back home, working for more than 30 years at the Sheboygan Press covering his hometown and the rest of the county.

In addition, he served for many years in the 1970s as town chairman of the town of Lyndon, serving the area he called home and the people he called neighbors.

In many ways, being an elected official at the local level – such as a town office – is more challenging than being an elected state or federal official.

For one thing, as a local official, your constituents are much closer to you. Rather than seeing just a few out of thousands – or millions – of constituents at rare events, a local official sees them not just at special events but in the store, at church, out for a walk or even across the fence or the yard. The local official has to listen to, and answer them, nearly every day.

And, rather than dealing with millions or even trillions of dollars in their budgets, local officials deal with budgets that may or may not even reach six or seven figures. That means every nickel has to be pinched, even penny has to be accounted for, there’s no place to hide a few bucks or be off by a decimal point or two.

Joslyn was able to walk that local official tightrope dexterously for the town of Lyndon, serving ably and well to the satisfaction, more often than not, of those he served.

But his greatest legacy is his work as a journalist with the Press.

He was one of a fading breed, a dedicated journalist who came back home to work and brought a deep, abiding passion for and understanding of the area and the people he covered, because he was one of them and came from there.

That may well be one of the reasons for the growing disconnect with and distrust of journalism, the fact that there aren’t as many Bob Joslyns in the business anymore.

Too much of today’s news seems to be cookie-cutter content churned out by the fast-food equivalent of media companies and served in nearly-identical packaging to consumers everywhere.

There’s less and less of the local flavor and feel delivered by true journalists who are a true part of the community they cover and that’s missed.

Local government and local journalism both benefited greatly from Joslyn’s dedication and professionalism. We could all use more of that, and more Bob Joslyns.

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