My father loved newspapers. If he could have lived his life over again he would have been a “newspaperman” as he called them. He read the local paper every day, plus the Wall Street Journal. When we went on vacation the first thing he would do was to go out and buy a local newspaper. He carefully clipped interesting articles to share and discuss.
My father’s first job during his married years got him into the field of printing and publishing. He later sold computer systems for IBM to printing and publishing operations such as the (now-defunct) Cleveland Press. He ended his career helping to create computer systems for newspapers and magazines for IBM.
He just loved newspapers. He taught me about the importance of white space. He collected those old wooden type trays before it was cool. He cared about fonts and type size and how they looked on a page. Even as he worked on one of the first dot matrix printers, he and his colleagues lamented the inevitable demise of “hard copy” that their own technology would surely replace.
He came home and regaled the family at dinner the day he got to visit the room where the actual presses were and meet the men who operated them. It was like an excited child visiting the fire station and getting to sit in the big fire truck.
More than anything my father loved quirky, small-town, purely local papers. He taught me to love them, too. I hadn’t thought much recently about his love of all things newspaper until the reports started coming in yesterday about the shooting at the offices of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis. I was raised to believe that newspaper people were my people, that what they were doing was a vital part of every community, and of our democracy.
This may be why I exhort you so often to subscribe to the Columbia Flier/HoCo Times. I truly believe that our futures are intertwined with the hard-working and brave people who are dedicated to shedding light on our community. They are not separate from us. They are us. A free press represents us in its own way every bit as much as our elected representatives. As someone said yesterday,
Enemies of the American people my ass. They’re heroes. #PressFreedom #FreedomOfThePress (Susan)
“The media” is sometimes viewed as a monolithic entity, but we’re regular human beings with families and emotions just like everybody else. (Tyler Buchanan)
You can subscribe to the Capital Gazette here.
We mourn with the newspaper community today. We know they are hurting. But let’s remember to support them tomorrow. Life goes on.
I can tell you this: We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow. (Chase Cook, Capital Gazette)