TJM Associates ... how it began
I founded my company — Theodore John Morris and Associates — in September 2001 in Marion, Ohio.

At that time, having worked nearly 20 years in the newspaper industry, I decided to expand my personal vision of media and communications. The total purpose of a newspaper, after all, is purely informational, whether the content is advertising or editorial.

In starting my own firm, I put to use the writing and editing skills that I have honed for most of my life. My experience began in high school when my mother, Mary Morris, asked me to be her photographer on a couple of news assignments when she worked for our hometown newspaper, The Star Free Press, in Springboro, Ohio, where I grew up.

Mom was a features writer for the Free Press. One time, she got a news tip about an airplane crash near a small airport between Springboro and Dayton, and she passed the information along to me. I raced to the scene and secured a quality photo that enabled our little village newspaper to scoop all the other media outlets in the Dayton valley. I was only a senior in high school.

In those days, I was learning photography from an educator in the village, Neil Clingman, who had graciously lent me a large-format (4-by-5-inch) view camera that required the use of a tripod. I developed all my film in Springboro High School.

Later, at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, I became good friends with Larry Widen, a photo/fine-arts major from Milwaukee who today is living his dream operating two fine theaters in his community.

Larry Widen taught me many things about visual arts and communications in general. Usually, our conversations centered on the classic films of Hollywood. We were always composing our own masterpieces and created thousands of still images as we explored places in and around the Ohio University campus and enjoyed other treats such as Washington, D.C., where we visited any time that we could afford it. I bought my first wide-angle lense there, a 28mm.

At OU, I pursued journalism, following in my mother's footsteps. She had obtained her own journalism degree at the University of California in Berkeley, Calif., in the early 1950s where she met my engineer father, Gilbert Morris. When I was a boy, I once remarked to Mom that she was wasting her degree by hanging around home, but she responded that she would never have wanted someone else to raise her children. I am grateful for my parents who sacrificed to provide me with "deluxe child care," as I would later call it when Dianna, the mother of my children, performed similar deeds with our little kids.

These fierce and loving ways of home and enterprise have been firmly impressed into my soul and psyche. I understand from my grandfather's stories told directly to me that these values were a vital part of the original Morris Ranch in the rugged Texas hill country.

And so we press on, serving our fellow humans with hard work and ingenuity, encouraging our brothers and friends in their professional and personal struggles. My life work as a journalist is aided by technology and serves a valuable niche in a time and place, leaving behind written records for generations to come.