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

Updated on September 1, 2017
William F. Torpey profile image

Graduated NYU in 1964. Worked in NYC for 2 years in public relations then as reporter and editor before retiring from The Hour newspaper.

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'

On April 13, 1916 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 Acquire '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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    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      10 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      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!

    • Woody Marx profile image

      Woody Marx 

      10 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 imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      10 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      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.

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 

      10 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 imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      10 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      "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.

    • profile image

      ColdWarBaby 

      10 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 imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      10 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

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

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

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      10 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      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:

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

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

    • profile image

      ColdWarBaby 

      10 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?

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