Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Willits News

The Willits News has been in print since 1903, and currently publishes on Wednesday and Friday each week. Once upon a time, all the small town newspapers were independently owned and operated, but in an era of rising costs and competing media, this paper is owned by the same corporation that owns the Ukiah Daily Journal, the Fort Bragg Advocate, and the Mendocino Beacon among others. But we are lucky to have a news publication serving such a small community at all, and it is the place to look for truly local news.

The window of their office is filled with old typewriters and other equipment once used by the paper, giving a sense of continuity with the past.

I’m out of town for a few days, so won’t be able to respond until I get back. Thank you for your visits.


Laurie said...

I want to check out all those old typewriters! I actually learned to type on an old black manual typewriter from the early 1900s that had belonged to my grandfather when he worked for Western Union. We called the thing Old Ironsides and you had to plunk plunk plunk those keys down about three inches to get them to cast up the lever to print the letter. I loved that thing.

I hope all these great small papers can survive the electronic age. If the LA Times is having troubles, I don't konw how the really little guys will stay in operation. IN this McNews world, I hope they find a way.

Cool post, Elaine.

Petrea said...

I'm thinking on the same lines Laurie is; hope these papers survive. At least they're owned by a company in your area, that's a good thing. The LA Times was owned for a while by the Chicago Tribune. That failed, and now some millionaire's making "McNews" with it (Laurie, I like that!). I've given up on the Times; the Pulitzers it once claimed seem a faded dream.

Folks blame bloggers. HA! I don't think so, mon ami.

I like your pic. This window is one I'd love to gaze at for a good long while and remember the days before Fox gave the name "journalism" to rumor-mongering.

Hope you're having yourself some fun.

Louis la Vache said...

"Louis" has an uncle who has published a very small newspaper like this in the town of Silverton, TX for over 40 years. It amazes "Louis" that they've hung on for so long. Another uncle is a printer in Lubbock, TX. Both began working for the small-town Tuiia (TX) Herald in the Texas Panhandle.

USelaine said...

Laurie - I still have a Brother manual typewriter that isn't as old as the one you describe, but those keystrokes required a healthy dip too. I had to use it to type term papers in college (graduated 1983), if you can believe it. What huge changes we have seen. It also helps explain why I avoided classes requiring term papers whenever possible - give me a sit-down with a blue book any day!

Petrea - Thinking about it now, this paper may have an advantage because it serves an area where many residents only have dial-up connectivity, and some are completely off the power grid! However, the papers around here do have online editions as well, and are able to cover events and issues that the nearest big(ger) city papers wouldn't bother with. The Santa Rosa paper is owned by the New York Times. The link to the Willits News is on my sidebar.

Louis - The freedom of the press is a vital element of our democracy, and it's great to hear of your proud heritage. When I was in Sacramento for several decades, it still had two daily newspapers. Sadly, it's down to one now. The Sacramento Union had a clearly right-wing editorial slant, but it was important to have a second voice. As a high-schooler, I went there for a day of "shadowing" a reporter to see what the job was like, and ended up with a wonderful half hour visit with the editor too, in his office. He was so in love with journalism, and he nearly cried recalling his days starting out as a reporter. It's a tough job to do well, and we need more smart people to go into the profession.

Dina said...

Yep, that is great history in the window. My typing class at Chicago highschool used big black ones like that. You needed so much strength for the keys that we started the class with warm-up gym exercises for the fingers. The worst part was erasing a mistake on two carbon copies. Oi...

Hilda said...

Looks like Laurie and I like the same stuff — I love those old, black typewriters too! I'd love to have one to display, along with an old Singer sewing machine, rotary dial telephone, and charcoal iron. ;)