McNary Joins The Vedette

by Staff Reports
James McNary James McNary

With the retirement of local news legend Cletis McConnell, readers of the Vedette will be seeing another new name in the paper, that of new Articles Editor/Reporter James McNary.

“I’m looking forward to meeting the people of the communities served by the Vedette and appreciate the opportunity and privilege I have been given to tell their stories,” said McNary.

McNary joins the Vedette after having spent the last five years as a reporter, printer, and technology manager at the Lawrence County Record in Mt. Vernon, and the last two years as a copy editor and reporter for that publication’s sister paper, the Greene County Commonwealth of Ash Grove and Republic.

“I also took out the garbage,” McNary said with a laugh.

“I’ve had the privilege of working with James before, while we were both at the Record,” said Gina Langston, publisher of the Vedette. “Although he likes to joke around, James is excellent about getting to the meat of a story and he tells it like it is. I think the community will enjoy his quirky sense of humor and love for journalism.”

Prior to his stint with the Record and the Commonwealth, McNary was at one time the associate editor for the Aurora Advertiser/Marionville Free Press, and a contributing reporter to The Sarcoxie Record, Pierce City Leader-Journal and Jasper County Citizen.

Some readers may also be familiar with McNary from his work on a 2003 project with Sarcoxie Publishing Co. to launch a weekly paper for the Lockwood, Golden City and Jasper areas. While that project was unsuccessful, he said he has maintained an interest in the area and is glad to be once again working nearby.

McNary and his wife, Amy, currently reside in Miller, previously living for six years at Round Grove, where Amy McNary is in her ninth year as an early elementary school teacher at Round Grove Christian Academy.

The hometown McNary claims is the Dudenville community, which is located south of Golden City on the Jasper-Dade county line, where his parents, Bob and Mary McNary, and brother, John McNary, have a farm a couple miles or so to the southwest. Another brother, Joe McNary, lives in Guam, where his wife is a nurse in the U.S. Navy.

McNary holds a bachelor’s of science degree in agricultural journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia, and is a 2001 graduate of Jasper High School.

“Yes, I went to Jasper schools. All 13 years. Please don’t hold that against me!” said McNary, again with a laugh.

McNary’s career in journalism began in 1998 when he launched The Dudenville Gazette (later, The Jasper News-Gazette) as a monthly newspaper – at the time he was a high school freshman. From there, he became a contributing reporter to The Carthage Press, and wrote for several papers in the Columbia area while he was attending the University of Missouri.

For his efforts at starting a community newspaper while in high school, McNary was a national finalist for the 2002 agricultural communications proficiency award from the Future Farmers of America. He has since earned several awards in the Missouri Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest.

McNary said that he isn’t trying to be a “new Cletis,” and that while he has a different style than McConnell, he plans to do his best to provide news and stories of interest to area readers they would not likely see anywhere else but the Vedette.

“It would be impossible to even attempt to replace Mr. McConnell and all that he has done in this community over the many years of his career, and it would be a fool’s errand for me to try,” said McNary.

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