"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

My paper died--II, history

The News-Democrat, after we closed the big windows for air conditioning, carrying my design for the flag as a sgin
1972. I came to Duncan, Oklahoma, to work for the Duncan Banner, because Harrington Wimberly would pay me close to what I was making in Clarinda, Iowa, at the Herald Journal. I think I got $165 a week. 
I was  hired as "area editor," which meant I traveled the rural areas around Duncan where the Banner had circulation in Stephens,  Grady, and Jefferson Counties. Rush Springs, Marlow, Bray, Central, Velma-Alma, Comanche--where my Dad was born, Addington, Waurika, Hastings, Sugden, Ryan and Terral.
We--my wife Neysa and I, with three small children, Vance, Travis and Dallas--came back to family territory with the dream of eventually  owning a weekly newspaper.
That's how I met Don Morrison, his sister Mary Lacy Snider and her husband Brick, at the Waurika News-Democrat in the sweltering summer of 1972.  I was building sources for stories, and knew somehow, that weekly newspapers knew more about their towns than anyone else.
It was an old brick building, on brick streets. Only one room was air-conditioned, because the new Compugraphic-I required it, the paper recently "converted"  to offset printing from hot metal. The Duncan Banner still was letterpress...and a few years earlier at the University of Iowa I'd learned to run a Linotype--which was still in the backshop of the News-Democrat for "job work," an important part of a country weekly's income, on Thursdays and Fridays after the paper was "out."
I think that helped endear me to Don. I think, years later, he saw something of himself, in a "young journalist," as he said in a column.

1 comment:

  1. 1972 are you sure? I would have thought you started work earlier than this. haha
    Moving several states over for $162 dollars a week tells a lot about how much money that was in the 70's.

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