Unlike Other Things You May Read Today, This Story Is True...
There are going to be some double takes in Lakeland, Florida, today. After years of sticking to his guns and taking an incredible amount of abuse for it, ANN's Jim Campbell gets to take something of a victory lap today -- with a set of recently issued media credentials from the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In.
We won't belabor the story for the moment. Years ago, after some hard-hitting and inescapably difficult stories that did not please the (then) leadership of the Lakeland event, it was made perfectly clear that Jim could either change his stories to be more pro-Lakeland... or he'd be VERY unwelcome. To this day, ANN and Campbell have NEVER backed down from telling the truth, and while things have apparently changed at Lakeland Linder Airport (and most of the old guard have departed the premises... some under 'interesting' circumstances), NO pre-conditions were demanded before the issuance of the credentials ANYONE at ANN will work under this week and we think that's a good thing.
That's 'progress' and it only took the better part of a decade for the event to finally recognize that the Constitution of the United States is a real, vital and amazing document -- and that a few aero-journalists (at least one, anyway) still believe in it. In Jim's case, that belief means ALL its rights AND responsibilities, and enough belief and faith in what our Founding Fathers intended, to take an incredible amount of abuse, flak, harassment, and derision so that aviation journalism wouldn't be a total joke.
Jim hasn't said too much about it, as yet. He simply wants "to do my job..." and will (no doubt) opine at a later date about what this means, what he sees, what he learns and what that portends for ANN, and possibly, the rest of the aviation industry.
In the meantime, he's on the field, he's doing his job and he continues to be TOTALLY dedicated to making sure that what he reports is the unvarnished, unmanipulated truth. Be sure to say HI! when you see him... he'll be the guy asking for directions. It's been quite a while since he set foot in these parts.