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READER MEMORIES: "I can still smell the ink and paper"

Dec. 02, 2008 @ 09:29 AM

I am the daughter of George H. Clark, who retired as the senior editor of the Herald-Dispatch in 1973 and died in 1974.

I have some of his memorabilia and pictures. Most of the pictures and memos I have are from the 1950s on up. I have a couple of photos of him and other key staff in the newsroom. One has Page Pitt, Raymond Brewster and Don Hatfield in it dated 1959. There is a picture of him watching a TV with the Eagle on it, in the newsroom, and he is holding a newspaper with the headline "Eagle Lifts off Moonscape."

In 1969, the Huntington Publishing Company was the first in the world to experiment with a cathode ray tube editing terminal. My father was the one who explored the feasibility of its use in the newsroom and became an authority on its use, even writing the first manual for CRT-newsroom use. I have a large picture of him, I think John Foy, and several Japanese visitors sitting at a desk with the CRT terminal when they came to see how it was being used.

I have lots of inner office memorandums that were sent out by N.S. Hayden when he was here when Gannett bought the paper. I have other memos done by my father about general operations there.

As a child, I remember many summer afternoons when my brother and I would go visit him at the office. My mother still has the large editing scissors he used to cut the articles out and do the layout for the paper on a large piece of copy paper. The "glue pots " were on the desk that he used to put them all together.

The engravers were on one floor. I remember lots of metal shavings on the floor where the type set had been engraved to prepare for printing.

AP news came across a teletype machine in the center of the newsroom floor. As news broke, the information was transmitted on the machine and sent out for the story to be printed. I would wait and read the information as it was transmitted, to be the first to see what the big story was.

The switchboard operators had the old switchboard with the lines you plugged into holes to connect to the person’s extension.

Best of all was the smell. When I entered the stairwell to go up to the editing room, I can still smell the ink and paper. I guess that is still there. Technology has changed the business so much, but it is still a matter of getting ink on paper and getting it out to the public.

Victoria Moon lives in Huntington.

 

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