For those readers who didnt get enough history in
the 140th anniversary section of the Daily Chronicle last weekend,
I have a few more personal anecdotes.
First, I will take a quote from a 1971 Barbed Wires
column I wrote about DeKalb police brutality. The lead read:
Five or six Chronicle staffers were brutally and unmercifully
beaten by a half dozen DeKalb policemen. The story was
about a police against press basketball game held for the benefit
of the YMCA. The final score was 108-40. I then berated our own
staff, calling them a poor, overweight, undernourished,
outranked, bunch of newspaper reporters. I also suggested
the paper might institute a noontime jogging program so they
would be ready for the men in blue the next year.
In another instance I had to poke fun at myself, explaining
why there was no photo of a Waterman candidates night I covered,
although I was there with
This 1971 Chronicle team was mainly responsible for
an Outstanding Typography and Design award two years in a row.
Standing from left are managing editor Fred Senters, advertising
director Claude Turner, pressroom foreman Warren Larson, society
editor Phyllis Mackall, and sports editor Stan Shallet. In front
are composing room foreman Bill Sellers, at left, and editor
Barry Schrader. (File photo)
a camera. When I got back to rewind the film there was
no film. It is not the last time I and other news people have
assumed a camera was loaded. That could never happen today with
digital cameras and smartphones.
When we moved back here 11 years ago, I happened to see
Jeff Strack and he reminded me that he was the first Democrat
running for local office in a long time to ever get a Chronicle
endorsement. I recalled that he and Republican Stan Johnson were
running for delegate seats at the State Constitutional Convention
and a third person (Republican) did not impress me. So Stan and
Jeff got our endorsement, despite the fact that there werent
a sufficient number of Democrats in the county at that time to
get Jeff elected. But he did serve several years as a member
of the Sycamore school district board.
Then there was the Home Rule measure that would give more
independence to cities and counties. Stan Johnson led that effort
in our county, and I joined the committee, something a newspaper
editor should not do when he also writes editorials on the subject.
The electorate turned it down at that time and, after licking
my wounds, I vowed never to join political committees or campaigns
while serving as an editor.
I did break that vow in 1980 when the John B. Anderson
for President campaign team asked me to serve as the media coordinator
for their Northern California campaign. I had known Anderson
when he was a Rockford congressman and used to stop by our Genoa
newspaper office to chat (and campaign). Just think, if he had
won I might have been White House Press Secretary.
I go, fantasizing again.
Looking at back issues, I do want to share some credit
for the nice awards the newspaper earned in the early 1970s.
For example the Outstanding Typography and Design Award,
which we won twice from the Inland Daily Press Association, involved
the efforts of several departments. I found an old photo of the
key people responsible for the award. It reminded me how it takes
a team effort to be successful in any competition. It is easy
to forget that a newspaper isnt just the reporters and
editors who get it packaged and delivered to your driveway or
mailbox. So why not include your carrier or route driver on your
Christmas gift list? (Editors and reporters no longer accept
I will conclude with two slightly humorous memories:
On April Fools Day in 1970 we decided to publish
a fake news story at the top of the front page that
was so preposterous few could believe it. We reported the city
and railroad had come to an agreement on how to eliminate the
traffic delays caused by long trains. The solution was to relocate
the train tracks down Lincoln Highway and close the state route
to vehicular traffic, forcing people to take alternate routes.
We even ran a doctored photo of a diesel engine running
on the highway. We did put an editors note at the end explaining
it was a spoof.
The other item I will classify as Most Embarrassing
for me and the newsroom. We ran a headline that said Man
Found Dead in Sandwich, which was true. But when the outside
media and even talk show hosts picked up on the Sandwich
some asked if his name was Reuben.