A native of southwest Missouri, Lankford is an avid sports fan who is looking forward to turning his passion into a new career. He joins the newspaper staff after working in marketing, customer service and sales.
"I always had a passion for sports," said Lankford, who describes himself as a sports nut who subscribes to every sports package offered by his satellite provider. "I now consider that research rather than entertainment."
Lankford inherited his love for all things sports from his father, James Lankford.
"A lot of my childhood memories are going to games with my dad. He cultivated a love of sporting events, and we always talked about the games," said Lankford. "When I saw the opportunity to work at something I love, it drew me to want to apply for this position."
So far, Lankford, has not been disappointed in his choice.
"It's been wonderful," Lankford said. "I get up to work at 7:30 or 8 in the morning and the next thing I look at the clock and it's 5. One of my teachers told me find something you love and you never have to work a day in your life. That's how this career has been so far, and I'm really excited."
Lankford is a 1999 graduate of Neosho High School and also holds an associates degree in general agriculture with an emphasis in communications/journalism from Crowder College in Neosho. He is also close to finishing his bachelors degree in agriculture from Missouri State University.
|One of the first jobs Lankford has tackled since joining The Monett Times staff is getting out and meeting as many of the local coaches as possible.|
"Monett has a wonderful group of coaches," said Lankford. "They have a young coaching staff, and every one of the coaches I have met is excited about their program."
In his role as sports editor, Lankford will focus his efforts first on covering local high school sports, including Monett, Pierce City, Purdy and Verona programs.
"First and foremost, we'll focus on local sports," said Lankford. "I remember as a kid it was a big thrill to read your name in the paper. My parents and grandparents would cut the articles out and put them on the refrigerator. That made me feel important and now I have the opportunity to make some other kid feel important."
In addition to local sports, Lankford intends to expand coverage to include regional college sports programs plus the University of Missouri and the state's professional teams like the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Chiefs.
"Anything the readers are interested in is what we're going to cover," said Lankford.
As the newspaper's sports editor, Lankford will become a familar face at local sporting events, and he's looking forward to meeting members of the community.
"I want people to know I'm approachable," said Lankford. "I have an open door policy, an open phone policy. I want to hear from our readers, and I always welcome suggestions."
Lankford is planning some changes on the sports pages that will be implemented in the coming weeks. Box scores and a calendar of upcoming games will be added as a regular feature, and Lankford is also working toward producing a series of profile pieces on local coaches and players.
"We want to make the sports pages more informational, more readable," said Lankford. "There will be a noticeable difference, but it's a work in progress."
When Lankford is not on the job, he enjoys watching sports and spending time with his wife, Melissa, and 8-month-old son, Zeke.
"Family and church tie up my free time," said Lankford. "The great thing about this job is even though I'm at ball games four nights a week, I can bring my family with me and it's something we can enjoy together. I consider myself very fortunate in that aspect."
Lankford can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 235-3135, extension 22.