Daily Chronicle General Manager (and former Editor) Eric
Olson really made my day when he contacted me last week to remind
me the newspaper will observe its 140th year in business in 2019
and asked me to write a piece about my memories of the paper
during the time I was editor 50 years ago.
Being the oldest (living) editor, I guess he couldnt go
back in time much further for a first-person account. Clinton
Rosette, founder of the Chronicle, is no longer around.
I began jotting down memories of my nearly four years at
the paper and fantasized that this could become the springboard
for a book, suitable for turning into a movie.
But lets get real it doesnt have the
pizzazz like The Front Page, the movie about the
Roaring 30s, when competing newsmen in Chicago pulled all
sorts of shenanigans to get the scoop on the competition.
And there was no Woodward and Bernstein at the Chronicle like
The Washington Post, who exposed the Watergate scandal. That
movie was called All the Presidents Men.
So I will have to resort to more localized journalism,
including chicken dinner news penned by country correspondents
writing from their living room tables, and reporters fresh out
of Northern who cut their teeth on the real world of reporting
at the Chronicle.
We did have some prominent names, such as famed sports
journalist Brent Musburger and Ray Gibson
This 28-year-old baby-faced journalist looked like
this when he became editor of the Daily Chronicle 50 years ago.
(Provided photo)Barry at his desk (Provided photo)
early in their careers. Musburger was about 10 years before my
time at the paper, but I hired Gibson right out of college, after
his days at The Northern Star, to cover the city beat. Then when
I moved on to a bigger paper in California, I lured him away
to head the Oakland news bureau for the paper. Gibson later came
back to Chicago and became one of the top investigative reporters
for the Chicago Tribune.
This column is meant to be a teaser for the essay I plan to write
for the special edition early in 2019. But I have so many people
to name, so many staffers that came and went back then, and some
major events that made community newspapering thrilling and rewarding.
Names such as Ray Robinson, Ralph Sherman, Paul Nehring Jr.,
Martin David Dubin, state Sen. Dennis Collins, Jeff Strack, Ina
Glover, Lizzie Cooper and Don Duncan are just a few who come
to mind as part of the story.
I can reminisce about our greatest looking historic front
page, fake news we published one April Fools Day, and the move
from East Locust Street to Barber Greene Road. That was when
we converted from printing on an old-old-fashioned letterpress
to the new slick offset product, which resulted in sad layoffs
and growing pains during that transition.
I had better not give away too much about my stint at the
paper and begin working on my memoir before my memory fails me.
That could be any day now ...