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

Updated on October 4, 2019
William F. Torpey profile image

Graduated NYU 1963. Worked in NYC in public relations 2 years then as reporter/news editor 32 years at The Hour newspapers. Retired in 2000.

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

'The Hour' Reinstates Founding Name: 'Norwalk Hour'

Hearst Connecticut Media Group acquired The Hour newspaper. On June 25, 2017 The Hour was reflagged The Norwalk Hour (its original name from May 6, 1871.)

One Hour Commute to New York

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

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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.

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Hearst Acquires 'The Hour' and restores its founding flag: 'The Norwalk Hour'

NEW YORK, April 13, 2016 – Hearst has acquired the print and digital assets of The Hour (Norwalk) and Wilton Villager, which will become part of the Hearst Newspapers’ Connecticut Media Group. With these two additions, Hearst’s Fairfield County media presence includes a collection of five daily and six weekly newspapers, and a total of 14 websites including the Connecticut Post, The News-Times in Danbury, Greenwich Time and The Advocate in Stamford.

June 25, 2017 — The Hour is reflagged The Norwalk Hour and made the following announcement:

Today this newspaper has a new name. Make that an old one, actually: The Norwalk Hour. Simply put, we decided to put the city back where it belongs — in big letters, at the top of the front page, today and every day. While Wilton, Westport and Weston are always in our sights, Norwalk is the heart of our local news organization. We hope you share our delight in celebrating the rich past and vibrant future of our dynamic community.

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

Are Newspapers Dying?


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