My first editorial of 2017, which appeared in our Jan. 4 issue of Siuslaw News, was inspired by an unanticipated trip through our local history while sorting through old newspapers — and an opportunity to underscore the importance of trust and integrity in journalism…
January 4, 2017
I spent part of my New Year’s weekend here in the newsroom, tackling a re-organization project of files and materials that have been staring at me for nearly a decade — the gaze of which grew stronger after becoming editor in September.
The project entailed sifting through boxes of old newspaper issues, special publications, documents, journalistic guidelines and historic reference materials that had been collecting along a wall of shelves in our newsroom since the late 1990s.
With 2017 looming, it seemed like the perfect time to sort through the past in order to benefit our newsroom’s future. Coincidentally, it also got me out of washing the dog, but you didn’t read that here.
Over the course of a few hours, I time-traveled through about 50 years of local history captured in aged clippings, folded newspaper pages, pamphlets and long-defunct smaller community publications like “The Fog Dog” and “Beachcomber,” all of which played a role in chronicling our area’s colorful past.
They are things you’ll never find with a Google search. They exist now only in the memories of those who wrote the stories, lived the experience or, in this case, remain preserved in the archives of a small newsroom.
I have to admit, I came into the New Year without any concrete resolutions aside from the usual — and ongoing — intentions of eating healthier, exercising more and procrastinating less (something I keep putting off).
However, my trip through the past served to reinforce the unique responsibility and privilege we have, as a newspaper, to be the keepers of the past, chroniclers of the present and conversation for the future — all while serving as a reflection of our community’s hopes, challenges and particular moment in time.
That being said, I’m not making a resolution as much as offering you my resolve, as editor, to continue striving for your trust and partnership on these pages each week.
“Integrity” is a term that has come into question within the realm of journalism far too often in recent years, particularly at the national level where the need to be first is sometimes more important than the responsibility of being factual. And while we aren’t perfect, we certainly try — even if it means holding a breaking news story to make sure the information is complete and not open to speculation or assumption.
As we head into 2017, I look forward to the conversations we’ll have together on the phone, through emails, visits here in my office or while waiting in the grocery line. It’s these conversations that build the trust and partnership I spoke about earlier, and the integrity I hope you will feel is reflected on these pages with each issue.
My hope is that some day, when another Siuslaw News editor is reading and organizing the archives of our history, like me they will be moved by the same sense of responsibility and privilege that now rests easily in that series of boxes along the shelves in our newsroom.
Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation and editor of Siuslaw News. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org
17 thoughts on “Trust, partnership with you are worth striving for”
I love seeing you in this role and reading the output. You look good with an editor’s hat 🙂
There are so many treasures in the written word – both online and in print. My mom and dad live in a century-old home. The fun part happened during refurbishing because between the plaster and lats (slats?) were old, old newspapers–it’s what my grandpa used for insulation when they built the house. We spent days reading. Priceless 🙂
Thanks, Michelle 😉
It’s so great that you guys were able to find those treasures in the walls (as opposed to what we usually find in old walls.) We just did a story about a home here in Florence that, during a recent remodel, found movie posters in the wall — including Snow White and the 7 Dwarves!
Thanks for sharing the wonder of words 😉
Is there any chance of getting some, or all, of that not-to-be-found-on-Google history onto the Internet?
We’re working on it, but it’s slow going because it’s as time allows. I’m hoping to get some photos posted of some of these old periodicals and their stories. Thanks for asking!
Thanks, Beth 😉
You’ll go down in Siuslaw history Ned! 🙂
You mean like a captain with his ship? 🙂
Lol NO, I mean like a hero in the history books! 🙂
Oh, gotch’a! Haha! 😉
If only every journalist/leader was made of similar stuff, Ned.
What a world it would be…
That’s what scares me… 😉
What an awesome task.. though tedious.. I’m sure you found some real gems and great things to read. It probably brought back some memories of things that happened in your town in years gone by that made you think “Oh wow, I remember that!” or “I never knew that happened!” How did you organize the articles? Is there a special way to preserve the paper since it breaks down and cracks? Inquiring minds want to know!!!! Ok.. THIS inquiring mind wants to know! LOL! 😉
I organized things by “journalist reference material,” “Historical archives,” “Features Archives” and “Historical documents.” In addition, we have every issue of Siuslaw News bound in leather books dating back to the late 1890s. AND the local library has digital newspaper archives 😉
That’s cool. I would love to be able to go through old newspaper archives in my hometown. I don’t know how they have preserved earlier copies. Hmmm… maybe I should find out!
Most newspapers have a “morgue,” which is where they keep back issues. We have people who come in all the time asking to look through ours for past articles for genealogy 😉