DOVER — The late Chris Godwin, one of the best copy editors we have ever had here at the Delaware State News, nicely summed up our work.
“A newspaper is what they call ephemera — short-lived printed matter,” Chris wrote in a blog in 2009 when he was battling cancer.
“Today’s news wraps tomorrow’s fish. And that’s fine. Some of us like that. One of the things that has always attracted me to the job is just that — every day starts fresh, not a lot of work to take home, you bang out one day’s paper and that’s it.
“Tomorrow you do a whole new one.”
That’s how it has been here for a long time.
Monday, Sept. 14, is the 25th anniversary of my first byline in the Delaware State News.
The date, though, is more significant in the big picture since it is the 62nd anniversary of the Delaware State News as the first daily newspaper in the capital of the First State.
We tend not to look back too often because there isn’t time when facing daily deadlines.
But, today, it seems appropriate to do so and to offer appreciation to our readers for so many years of support and loyalty.
So to all of you who have taken time to say job done well or given us hell, I thank you.
And, for the team of great people here at the Delaware State News, your dedication to community journalism is sincerely appreciated.
Back in 1990, then-managing editor Tammy Brittingham signed me on as sports editor.
I left Reading, Pa., and headed south. It was a race weekend (Bill Elliott won the pole and two days later the race) and a there was a full slate of high school football games on my first day.
With a team that included longtime friend and current sports editor Andy Walter (who is closing in on 30 years here), we got the pages done that night in a flurry of activity. Technology has made today’s newsrooms quiet and efficient. But back then, there were Exacto knives carving columns of waxed print and crowded paste-up banks where we had last chances to spot typos.
We were 20 minutes past deadline as I recall, and I was worried sick. Late press starts usually mean late deliveries.
When Ms. Brittingham called me into her office the following Monday, I was nervous but quite relieved when I learned it was one of the best football Friday night finishes we had in some time.
Just before that meeting, I had taken a phone call from the late Jim Blades, athletic director and coach at Lake Forest High School. He was giving me the devil for the Delaware State News not covering the Lake Forest Cross Country Invitational.
It didn’t matter that I was new in town or that thousands of people were in Dover for race weekend.
On that day, he “coached” me on the importance of community sports coverage.
In our lobby, we have framed the first front page of the Delaware State News when Jack Smyth rolled out the state capital’s first daily.
The two little words “Continued Tomorrow” always pop out at me. Running way past deadline, the lead lines of the final story were being set. Then-managing editor Jim Miller, tasked with a decision, told the type setter to just put in the line that more could be read the next day.
“Continued Tomorrow” was an accidental promise, but one that many of us here hold dear.
There is a commitment and dedication here that is special.
Joe Smyth, chairman of DSN’s corporate parent Independent Newsmedia, Inc., USA, has been with the company since the beginning.
Advertising associate Sharon Harvey is now in her 47th year. CEO Ed Dulin has been with our company 45 years.
Looking down our list of associates, there are 20 others with more than 20 years of service here.
Congratulations to the Delaware State News advertising team for winning the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association’s top honor for small dailies at the annual awards ceremony. Additionally, we’re proud to report that our Samantha Hemphill won the press association’s Rookie of the Year Award and our Katrina Sullivan won the Overcoming Obstacles sales executive award.
Reach editor Andrew West at email@example.com