Newspapers across the country have been celebrating National Newspaper Week the entire month of October. The industry has been celebrating the First Amendment right to a free press in a variety of ways including editorials, recognizing employees, to extolling the values of serving communities.
At Rome News-Tribune, we are appreciative of the privilege to serve Rome and Floyd County, as well as adjoining communities across Northwest Georgia. In an exceedingly digital and electronic world, our employees work very hard each day to bring our readers credible, reliable, useful news and information that helps keeps you connected to the world.
I have been excited about newspapers and how they can lead communities and individuals for nearly 50 years. Following four years of delivering newspapers to the households in my neighborhood, I convinced the circulation manager of my hometown newspaper to give me a job inside the paper. I was eager to learn all I could about this “news” business in order to increase my participation in, what was and remains today, a fascinating business.
My career working in the newspaper has been one of constant change. The industry was shifting from hot type (hot lead was used in typesetting) to cold type, the beginning of a photographic method of setting type. The evolution continued to the introduction of computers all the way to the digital formats used today.
For comparison, a printing plate using hot lead weighed more than 40 pounds. An aluminum plate containing the same type weighs 8 ounces.
Advertising and news reporting created household readers and provided, along with local radio and some local TV, the most common ways to learn about their community. Compare that to today’s world of 24/7 news, and the disruption that social media has brought.
My experiences as a bicycle carrier and inside employee have allowed me to meet and know many great men and women who were journalists, craftsmen, advertising sales people, pressmen, mailroom operators, and newspaper carriers. Some I learned lots from, and some I learned to stay away from.
Readers depended on daily delivery of “Their Newspaper” (and still do). I still remember vividly a customer of mine coming after me with a switch because she had not gotten her paper.
I have an old Underwood typewriter in my office that was given to me by the owner of the Griffin Daily News. As a young boy wandering through the newspaper on Saturday mornings he would ask me to help him with his column. He was an older gentleman and his eyes weren’t as good as he wished, so my job was to hold the magnifying glass over the scripture he would use for his Sunday School lesson. He taught me the importance of correct spelling, proof reading and several Bible verses on those mornings. Plus I loved to hear his stories of baseball and politics.
Georgia newspapers have historically produced some of the best professionals in the world. Our employees at Rome News-Tribune today are among the best in the world. Newspapers today offer a challenging and exciting career to young people seeking a career of service to the communities they love and wish to build lasting relationships with.
On behalf of all our employees and independent carriers, I thank you for helping the Rome News-Tribune family continue an almost 175 year relationship.
Otis Raybon is the publisher of the Rome News-Tribune.