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When printer Ed Kraus dropped off a case of window envelopes yesterday, he remarked that he had walked through those same doors when he first started working at Delaware Publications as a sophomore in high school in 1954.
He told me about standing on the top of the room-sized letterpress newspaper press and feeding one sheet in at a time. He laid the paper in a cylinder, and four pages were printed at once.
“It wasn’t sheet fed?” I asked, astounded. “And then you had to hand collate?”
“Yep,” he replied.
He said that Claude, the former editor of the Delaware News-Times, would load the chases, heavy metal forms that held the slugs of lead, photo blocks and handset type into the press. Once, he hadn’t locked it down tight, and all of the pieces fell to the floor.
“We had to reset it all,” he laughed.
He said that for as much as people complained about the News-Times, when he delivered it to Main Street, there was always people clamoring to read it.
Some things never change, even in the face of enormous upheaval.
For as much as we receive a variety of complaints at The River Reporter, we always get calls when the newspaper has been delayed in the postal system.
With the changing nature of media and the ever-present reality that the technology giants—Google, Facebook, and Amazon—are syphoning off many advertising dollars that used to be spent with small (and large) publications, it’s relatively easy to feel a bit overwhelmed with the responsibility of continuing to publish a single-flag independent newspaper.
But another thing that doesn’t change is the undisputable fact that communities are enhanced, civic engagement is increased and governments all work better when there is a news source paying attention and bringing accurate information to its readers.
As our area comes into a resurgence, I am compelled to hold a space that proves: while our area doesn’t have the national recognition of someplace like Gettysburg, we have a vibrant history. We are not just a newly discovered enclave of New York City; the valley holds a colorful and storied history. The doors that we walk through have been opened for and by many generations.
And I was happy to be reminded of that continuum yesterday afternoon.