By Donna Cronk
When I was a girl, I read in my hometown newspaper, The Liberty Herald, about a prominent family in town that attended a presidential inauguration and ball. I was in awe that people from our little dot on the map had those opportunities.
I tried to envision what the women wore to the ball and if they danced the night away or hobnobbed with celebrities.
I never imagined that I would attend the ceremony transferring power from the most important leader in the world to the next American in that role. And certainly, I didn't anticipate covering this for a newspaper – let alone for several newspapers.
Last week that opportunity came unexpectedly when Courier-Times Managing Editor Katie Clontz asked if I would like to go. I couldn’t say “yes” fast enough. It turns out our parent company, Paxton Media Group, approved my covering the event and related festivities for my newspaper and its sister papers throughout Indiana.
Those most likely to carry my coverage include The Connersville News-Examiner, The Shelbyville News, Marion Chronicle-Tribune, Wabash Plain Dealer, Peru Tribune, Frankfort Times, The Huntington Herald-Press, Elkhart Truth and Michigan City News-Dispatch.
My approach is not that of a political writer, but as a general-assignment reporter and columnist-blogger embedded with 110 Hoosiers traveling with the Roving Elephants, organized by State Rep. Tom Saunders (R-Lewisville) and his wife, Sue.
As it happens, this all came about so last-minute that only one seat remained on the bus when we got the go-ahead for coverage. One other Indianapolis journalist will be with us.
I will accompany the group to everything I can, including a tour of Washington, D.C., the inauguration of president-elect Donald J. Trump and the Indiana Congressional Delegation’s Inaugural Luncheon. I also anticipate providing photos and comments from some Hoosiers who attend inaugural balls, and provide coverage of any concerts or parades I might attend.
Along with the planned print coverage, I’ll share those unexpected moments that emerge at an event of this undertaking where hundreds of thousands of Americans descend on their national capital – some happy and some not. I’ll be posting occasional photos to The Courier-Times Facebook page and blog here at www.donnacronk.com.
Here I’ll post updates I’m calling “The Last Seat on the Bus.” The name reflects my position as the one with the last ticket issued for this tour, as well as my point of view as an everyday Hoosier taking in all the pageantry, crowds, support, opposition and whatever else I see and experience from the front line of this historic event.
My goal is for you to have an insider friend showing and telling what this experience is like. Won’t you join me on this trip? Well then, let’s roll!
Reach Courier-Times Neighbors Editor Donna Cronk this week at email@example.com. Read her blog posts at www.donnacronk.com. Paxton Media Group subscribers such as Courier-Times readers will get primary print and website reports. This post appears in today's New Castle Courier-Times and other Paxton Media Group papers.