Yours truly was among six honorees as Distinguished Journalist by the Society of Professional Journalists Greater LA chapter — and it does have to be “greater” to take in Pomona, doesn’t it? Here’s the story that interviewed me about it.
Alas, the Nov. 4 ceremony was remote rather than an in-person banquet. In fact, we taped the whole thing via Zoom from our homes in early October and, with a few technical additions, such as photos of us on the job, it aired online just as recorded.
(When the event aired, by the way, I was attending a talk in Riverside to get material for my Nov. 7 column. Was that bad? Ehh, I felt as if I’d already seen the ceremony anyway.)
The whole thing lasts a mere 45 minutes, and if you’re having a slow day, here’s the link to watch the whole thing. My own portion — the general introduction of what the award is about by the emcee, the introduction of me by a former editor, then my remarks — starts at 6:48 and ends at 10:51.
I was up first and wore my “Save a Journalist, Buy a Newspaper” T-shirt. We were told to keep our remarks under 2 minutes and I did. As the speeches progressed, I wondered if I’d made a mistake by dressing and speaking so informally. But, hey, my choices reflect my personality, which is what being a columnist is all about, right?
I return to the topic of newspapers, allowing me to quote from two great letters last year from readers who were paperboys (in the ’40s and in the ’70s) and still take the paper today, as well as from some readers who just like their morning paper, all in Sunday’s column.
Some have taken a local paper since the 1950s or earlier and read their parents’ paper as children. One formed the habit when her dad asked her to always bring a news topic to the dinner table for discussion. I collect stories from some super subscribers in Friday’s column.
I interview Fred Claire, the former Dodgers executive who got his start at the Pomona Progress-Bulletin as sports writer and editor, for Sunday’s column.
Items about newspapers: longtime subscribers, my search for a Sunday New York Times, a 1940s Ontario newsboy dies and a 1960s paperboy reminisces. All that is in Sunday’s holiday weekend column.
A major announcement is contained in Wednesday’s column, with the headline as spoiler alert: My columns will now appear in not just the Daily Bulletin and Sun, but the Press-Enterprise as well. What changes will this bring? I don’t even know yet. It’s almost too much to contemplate.
Wednesday is my 33rd anniversary in newspapers. Huzzah! I write about newsboys on street corners (before my time, I hasten to add), about working for a newspaper during the pandemic and about how your support is appreciated, all in Wednesday’s column.
The former Progress-Bulletin newspaper headquarters in downtown Pomona is still around, now dubbed the Progress Building and used for lofts, retail, a bar and an art gallery. The latter, the Prog Gallery, is in the basement. And in the basement, off in a corner, stands the Prog’s old linotype machine.
That’s the machine on which articles were typeset for decades. It looks like a beast, but at the time the linotype was an advancement over handsetting of type, i.e., a human picking out metal bits of type from boxes for each letter and form of punctuation.
The linotype would set, yes, entire lines of type all at once when an operator typed out the lines on a 90-character keyboard. The Prog’s machine was made by the leading manufacturer, the Mergenthaler Linotype Co. It was in use until about 1976, retired Prog/Daily Bulletin staffer Mike Brossart tells me. That’s when phototypesetting was introduced.
I was in the basement looking at art a few weeks ago and noticed the machine. I must have seen it before, but it caught my eye, so I snapped a couple of photos for posterity.
Here’s a Wikipedia entry for linotype if you want to delve more deeply.
I set out to crank out a column before vacation rounding up recent comments by readers, starting with ones on my recent effort about trying to find a print New York Times for sale after Starbucks quit carrying newspapers. And there were so many of those comments, that turned into my entire Sunday column. Well, I’ll get back to those comments on other topics another time, perhaps.
Perhaps the most well-trafficked place that sold newspapers has stopped doing so. Starting a week ago, all Starbucks outlets nationwide dropped newspapers. I write about that, along with my related quest to find a print copy of the New York Times in the absence of Starbucks selling them, in Sunday’s column.
Above, a Starbucks news rack in Ontario on Aug. 5; below, a Starbucks news rack in Ontario, different location, on Aug. 30. I took the earlier photo after finding the rack gone at a Claremont Starbucks, which gave me the sense (before looking it up and confirming it) that newspapers were on their way out at the chain.