Local columnist to have book signing at Consigned Books

Published 7:16 am Friday, December 14, 2018

For more than four decades, John Cannon was the opinion page editor of Ashland’s Daily Independent who also wrote a weekly column. Now, he has gathered 100 of his best columns into a new book called “Cannon Fire.”

Cannon, a native of Washington Court House, has a long history in the newspaper business.

He served as editor of the tri-weekly Gallatin, Tennessee Examiner-News, the Sunday editor of the Clarksville, Tennessee Leaf-Chronicle, and a reporter for the Daily News in Bowling Green, Kentucky before he came to Ashland in 1979 to work as the city editor of the Daily Independent. He held that position until being named the opinion page editor from August 1981 until his retirement in August 2014.

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Cannon said people had been asking him for the past 25 years if he was ever going to put his columns into a book collection.

“My answer always was ‘Maybe someday, maybe someday,” he said.

After he turned 70 this summer, he decided it was time.

“If I was ever going to do it, it had to be now,” Cannon said.

Although he decided the time was right, he had a slight problem.

“I’ve never been a clipper and saver of my columns,” he said. So, he spent a long time in the public library looking up his weekly columns. But there was some help so he didn’t spend all his time in the archives. “Fortunately, my late mother, for some reason, saved a lot of them, although she never did subscribe to the paper. And my wife saved quite a few. But still it took a while to do.”

And the columns span his whole career. One of the columns is one he wrote in 1970, when he was the editor the Morehead State University Trail Blazer newspaper.

Some he found were too dated to be included.

“I had one about the first time I ever used email. But man, how would that go over in 2018?” he said with a laugh.

Cannon will be signing copies of his book from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday at Consigned Books in downtown Ironton.

During his visit, Cannon will recite excerpts from “Cannon Fire” as well as meet and answer questions from visitors. Three of the segments in the book are originally columns that were expanded and combined into speeches that won two firsts and a second in the humorous speech contest for District 40 (Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana) of Toastmasters International.

The Jesse Stuart Foundation publishes “Cannon Fire” and he felt that it was better to have them as a publisher.

Cannon still writes a weekly column.

“I didn’t really retire,” he says. “I just stopped going to work.”