Introducing Words Matter 2020
Dennis Richardson (left) and Randy Coppersmith at the bar (where else?) in Pinehurst, NC. The two writers have been friends and colleagues since 1979.
May 25, 2020
MIDDLEBURG, VA -- Dennis Richardson and I are friends. We first met as young newspaper reporters at The Springfield Daily News in Springfield, MO in April 1979, over 41 years ago. Since then, we’ve stayed in touch, played a lot of golf together, have had a few drinks together, and generally tried to laugh all along the way. My wife, Elizabeth, and I always enjoy hosting him at our home when he visits the Washington, DC area. And, Dennis and I make the annual trip to Pinehurst each year in the Fall, where we enjoy the splendor of the cradle of golf.
Dennis continued his 50-year newspaper career in Journalism, including over 35 years at The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, based in Ft. Lauderdale. He eventually rose to Special Sections editor there. A gifted writer, his work has been steady, honest, reliable and always fun to read.
After Springfield, I went to The Sun-Sentinel first, in 1980; Dennis followed shortly after. I eventually left the newspaper business and have enjoyed a 40-year business career in media, technology and finance, the last 20 years as a CEO, investor, venture capitalist, board member and entrepreneur with a particular focus on smaller companies.
Currently Richardson is retired and living in the Orlando, FL area. I still serve on several corporate and non-profit boards in Washington, DC, and continue my work in media today through The McLaughlin Group, as the chairman of its production company, which is called Re-Group Productions.
In 2016, during a Pinehurst trip together, Dennis and I had the idea of starting a blog called Words Matter. Beginning in 2017, The Blog ran for about two years. Together Dennis and I wrote all kinds of stories, mostly in the long-form journalistic method of a Column, a recognized format for newspaper readers. In the Internet age, it’s probably more commonly called a blog, but we liked the old-timey feel of the column, so preferred to write in that style and format.
Together we wrote nearly 100 columns for Words Matter. Dennis wrote mostly about sports and features. The main focus of his writing has always been golf and baseball. He is an exceptional golf writer, and is a deeply knowledgeable baseball commentator, not to mention also being a life-long St. Louis Cardinals fan.
My stories tended to be oriented toward business, politics, economics, sports and the occasional feature. But mostly, the focus was about how to try to unpack complex things and show how they can be noteworthy in our daily lives.
In short, the stories tended to be commentary on our times. And we feel, at least some of the times, we even got it right.
In 2018 we decided to pull together an anthology of our Words Matter stories into a book, entitled: “The Best of Words Matter 2017.” The stories included some pieces from other writers, including poetry from Mike Varga, and commentary on families, cars, and other subjects from writers Bob Hagan, Bill Bellows and Sarah Zuckerman. We sold some books, and in general enjoyed the experience.
Last year, when I joined the The McLaughlin Group team, along with cast members Eleanor, Clarence, Tom and Pat, -- and my fellow board members Seth Berenzweig, Les Heinz and my son, Max Coppersmith -- I starting thinking about re-starting Words Matter, by perhaps adding our commentary and ideas to the McLaughlin website.
Recently, we were asked by Tod Castleberry, TMG’s Executive Producer, if we would be willing to add our writing and commentary to the TMG website. “Randy, it’ll give you a chance to go full-circle in your career,” Castleberry said. “After all, it’s how you started out -- as a writer.”
Which is how this introductory story was published. I’ve asked Dennis to join in, and that’s how we now -- once again -- begin the process of writing weekly columns for readers.
For Dennis and I, it’s as much a labor of love as it is a weekly assignment. We shall endeavor to add our unique views to the journalism collective of The McLaughlin Group. And, we shall -- like the TMG TV, radio, podcast and website -- endeavor to cover a myriad of subjects, including politics, but much more, too. We may even do some Words Matter podcasts in the future, we shall see.
We hope you enjoy our stories. As always, we look forward to hearing from you, the readers. So don’t hesitate to email us at email@example.com.
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