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Newspaper: 'I take it with me'

Bert Kemp.JPG

Bert Kemp


Beth Velliquette

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Bert Kemp - Pitt County Public Defender

Bert Kemp, Pitt County’s public defender, said he’s an avid fan of newspapers and grew up reading newspapers and news magazines in Oxford. He was encouraged to read the newspaper at home in the 1980s and still enjoys reading a number of papers. He remembers cutting out articles and and taking them to school for current events. 

He also served in two tours the North Carolina National Guard in the Middle East. The first tour, he was a captain in Iraq and Kuwait as a trial counsel for about eight months in 2003-04, and the second tour in 2009-10, he was Major, Brigade Judge Advocate in Iraq for about nine months. He currently serves as a Lt. Colonel as chief of legal operations in North Carolina. 

Are you a subscriber to The Daily Reflector? ”Yes, ever since I moved to Greenville. That would be 1997.“

How do you read it?  ”I take it with me. I grab a few minutes in the morning to read it.“ ”I I also use the digital version to see any updates. That’s one of the last thing I do before I turn in for the evening.“

”The first time I was in Iraq, my parents bought me a year’s subscription to The Daily Reflector, and I’d get like 10 issues at the same time. I was interested in the local news, and I read them 10 to 15 at a time. My hands would be black with ink on them. I wanted to know everything that was happening locally. The second time, I didn’t do that. I was able to check the website for the newspaper.“

What order do you read it? ”I always start out with “Bless Your Heart” first; then the opinion section second; then the front page of each of the sections, then work my way in, unless there’s something that grabs my attention right away on the front page.“

How do you read the Sunday paper? ”My wife knows I liked reading the paper. I’ll sit down with a bottle of Diet Mountain Dew and my reading glasses. She’ll give me time to do that. I thoroughly enjoy the Sunday paper, reading The Motley Fool, articles on business, columnists John Hood, Chris Fitzsimon, Walter Williams. I liked to get a lot of different perspectives. I try to be a pragmatic person in my personal life. I try to look at the macro point of view.“

What’s your favorite part of the paper? ”It’s got to be Bless Your Heart just because it’s rapid-type tidbits. I enjoy reading it and seeing people’s viewpoints and perspectives.“

What newspapers do you read? ”The Daily Reflector, The News & Observer, The New York Times, The Washington Post and occasionally the Wall Street Journal.”

Do you trust what you read in the paper? “Yes. When I was overseas I saw firsthand how the TV and media news just got it wrong. I believe in accuracy over speed.”

“I take my news similarly to how I take a spot report in the military. One percent of it’s probably true. I have that type of cynicism when I get breaking news events. Mostly, there’s a lot more to the story, therefore I’m always more anxious to read the newspaper article because I know it has been vetted more than a news story on the TV.”