The Hour Newspaper: What's in It for Me?
Working at The Hour Newsdesk
'The Hour' Logo
One Hour Commute to New York
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.
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.