The Hour Newspaper: What's in It for Me?

Working at The Hour Newsdesk

William F. Torpey, The Hour News Editor (Retired June 1, 2000.)
William F. Torpey, The Hour News Editor (Retired June 1, 2000.)

'The Hour' Logo

One Hour Commute to New York

The Hour newspaper, Norwalk, Connecticut
The Hour newspaper, Norwalk, Connecticut

If you work for The Hour's News Department, you always think local.

Norwalk, Westport, Ridgefield, Georgetown, Redding, (CT) Vista and Lewisboro (N.Y.) are not exactly foreign, either.

If you're reading The Hour, you're looking for late "breaking" news that interests you or affects you directly, or about your club, your church or your baseball, basketball, football or soccer team. You want to know how your local leaders are handling the day-to-day work of your local government as well as how local businesses are doing their thing.

If you're anything like me, you find the letters to the editor, the opinion columns and the editorials among the most enjoyable reading. And, at my advanced age, I'm not alone in taking a special interest in the obituaries.

Emphasis on Local News

While The Hour emphasizes local news, it provides a sampling of national and world news; but you don't buy this paper primarily for that! Not that you don't care about state, national, international or other news, but you can keep pretty well informed about those things through other sources.

I've seen a lot of changes since joining The Hour in November 1968 as a general assignment reporter. I spent a decade covering Norwalk government and politics as a reporter -- where the important work is done in any real newspaper -- before going into the sedentary life of a copy editor.

The paper was only about 103 years old then; as you can see by the flag on Page One, it's been around since 1871. It's gone from Linotype to offset printing (in the '70s) and, nowadays, everything's pretty much done by computer.

Unique Newspapers

But, no matter how a community newspaper is produced, the news -- local news -- remains its end product.

Community newspapers like The Hour are unique; they are a business, of course, but a business unlike any other. They (reporters and editors, particularly) not only produce a one-of-a-kind product but feel an obligation -- the good ones anyway -- to provide a service to their communities.

Keeping Up With the Times

There's a lot of talk these days about the myriad problems newspapers in general have had keeping up with the times in these days of the Internet and so-called Information Highway -- not to mention cable and network television.

Some are even saying that our younger generation is bedazzled by TV, and now the Internet, and is losing interest in reading itself. Somehow, however, books and magazines seem to be attracting their share of readers.

Newspapers Slow in Adapting

The newspaper industry as a whole has been slow in adapting to the new environment. I can't help thinking of the trouble radio had adapting to the advent of television in the late '40s and '50s. (Personally, I prefer radio to TV and find it perplexing that radio doesn't try harder to compete by offering its own comedy and drama as it did in the old days.)

As an editor, I've always counseled young reporters struggling with their stories with this piece of philosophy: If you forget everything else and think only of what the readers want and need, you'll have no trouble deciding what's newsworthy.

I wrote this column as a "My View" for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Conn., on April 1, 1999. I now write my views on a wide variety of topics on HubPages. To view my HubPages Profile Click Here


Do You Read Your Local Newspaper?

  • Couldn't Do Without It.
  • The Regional/National Papers Meet My Needs.
  • All I need is the Internet and the Social Sites
  • There is no local paper where I live.
  • I Get My News From TV and/or Radio.
See results without voting

How Important Is It To You That Newspapers Remain A Significant Source of Objective News in Your Community and In the World?

  • Critically Important
  • Not Important At All
  • Moderately Important
See results without voting

Norwalk, Connecticut: Erik Trautman's 2013 Year in Photos

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Comments 9 comments

ColdWarBaby 8 years ago

I spent most of my life in Connecticut. I didn't miss it for a long time. The cold, shoveling snow, the ice storms were things I always wanted to escape. That has changed of late. Steep Rock park, Falls Village, Kent Falls and many other places I haunted in my youth are calling to me now. I doubt I will ever see them again.

I hope you don't mind me asking but I can't help noticing you post a lot of articles you composed quite some time ago. Have you stopped writing new material or are these just pieces you are very fond of?


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

Most of my life has been spent in Connecticut as well, ColdWarBaby, but it was mostly in Fairfield County. We had all those wintry storms, too, but the weather's a tiny bit better along the Long Island Sound (if you're close enough.) But my early years in Yonkers, N.Y., have had a great influence on me. I never really considered myself a Nutmegger.

I don't mind your asking at all, ColdWarBaby. I haven't exactly stopped writing new material, but after I retired in June of 2000 I took a little respite. Then, when I found HubPages, I decided I would gather up my old columns and publish all of them before starting any new projects. I still have about 20 old columns to type into the computer and gather photos and links, etc. I have a number of hubs I am planning to write as soon as all that is done. A while ago, I wrote a new hub on my cousin, Michael Torpey, and this week I published a new hub to help promote the ebook of my friend, Linda Palucci, who wrote about the trials and tribulations of her husband's cancer and death, and her efforts to cope with it. Since you've expressed an interest in them I'll leave you the URL's here:

http://hubpages.com/entertainment/Michael-Torpey

http://hubpages.com/?hub/Surviving-the-Death-of-a-Spouse


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

Sorry, I left a bad link to Linda's story. Here's the correct link:

http://hubpages.com/health/Surviving-the-Death-of-...


ColdWarBaby 8 years ago

Actually I've been thinking about digging out some very old ramblings and seeing what might be made of them. I'm just not sure how fiction and poetry would go over in this venue.

Thanks for the links.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

"Old ramblings," ColdWarBaby, become "history." If you put it to a vote, I'll cast mine in favor of your publishing all your fiction and poetry here.


compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

William,

No matter what subjects written, there will always be readers, especially if the stories are newsworthy and your stories never let me down!

I don't know what the future is for newspapers and the new Internet medium!, but what I do know is that if you had not published this article here, just like all your other topics you discuss, I would never! have ever! had the chance to read especially as a UK citizen!

Keep on writing!


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

You are very kind, as always, compu-smart. It is very rewarding for me to know that bright, good, intelligent people like you in the UK, and elsewhere, read and get something out of my scribblings. It is always my hope that the opinions I express in my columns/hubs make a worthy contribution to the subject. I only wish I had your skills in technology -- but I learn a lot from you and your hubs. I particularly love your Celebrity Birthday hubs and your blogs.


Woody Marx profile image

Woody Marx 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Good review and I picked out this sentence as a pearl of true wisdom, since it applies not only to news-writers but really to writers of all types...

"As an editor, I've always counseled young reporters struggling with their stories with this piece of philosophy: If you forget everything else and think only of what the readers want and need..."

Thanks!


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

Thanks, Woody. In today's environment it's easy to forget your target audience and go off on a tangent. I learned newswriting from some very saavy, old school journalists who would brook no fluff. If you're off target, or if you ramble, you can lose your readers in a flash!

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