Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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August 13, 2012

Rumors of newspapers’ death have been greatly exaggerated


I know what I’m talking about, because in a long and checkered career, it would appear that I’ve helped kill off some really good newspapers.

I swear, I didn’t do it on purpose. It just seemed that a few years after I would leave a place, the owners would cry: “What’s the use?” and sell the printing press.

My first newspaper gig was as a teenager with the old 30,000 circulation Miami Beach Sun, where I covered mostly high school and kids sports.

Three notable people I worked with there were TV personality Larry King, horse racing giant Russ Harris and crime reporter/author Edna Buchanan. Edna went on to win a Pulitzer Prize at the Miami Herald, I went off to college, and the Miami Beach Sun went off into history a few years later.

My next paper was the Hollywood (Fla.) Sun-Tattler, whose name sounded like one of those tabloids with screaming headlines about Ulysses S. Grant being brought back to life. But no, it was a legitimate newspaper that is unfortunately no longer with us.

Then came the Miami News, a feisty afternoon paper that went toe-to-toe with the much-bigger Miami Herald. Some wonderful journalists worked at the News, and the place was a ton of fun when it wasn’t a snake pit of shoddy management and outsized egos. It ran its own obituary on Dec. 31, 1988.

The next stop for me was the Dallas Times Herald. I really liked the paper, but not Texas. Since the owners of the Times Herald weren’t about to move it to another state just for me, it was probably for the best that I moved on. That fine newspaper closed in 1991.

Now, it probably wasn’t all my fault that the first four papers I worked for shut down after I left, but for a while there, I was worried that I might be some kind of journalistic Jonah.

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