Perspective: Just What Does A Local Newspaper Deliver?

Mar 8, 2019

I was studying journalism at NIU in DeKalb in the ‘60s when I got a summer job at the local paper. Not in the newsroom. In the Circulation Department.

We tied up individual routes and tossed the bundles on the dock.  Drivers lined up to hustle them out. Speed was important. The clock was king.

I have learned to appreciate and love the sound of those bundles hitting the dock. And now I see more than bundles. There are not as many hitting the dock as there used to be. Newspapers are shutting down.

I shouldn’t have to tell you why a local newspaper is needed.

I fight back the only way I know how. By believing in the mission and writing about it. If I had a room full of young journalists before me, I’d hold up one of those wrapped and ready bundles with both hands, like a trophy.

“Listen,” I’d say. Then I would heave the bundle high, across the room. It would land with a pounding thud. Leaving them wondering, “What the …?”

Then I’d say this:

That’s the sound of history in the making.

That’s the sound of a day ending and another starting.

That’s the sound of the clock ticking off a lifetime.

That’s the sound of a modern jungle drum spreading the word.

That’s the sound of an alarm, a warning, words of advice, a cry to pay attention.

That’s the sound of doors opening … or slamming shut.

That’s the sound of the starting gun for the chase you’re running.

That’s the sound of a heart beat from a hundred hearts. Yours and all those wrapped inside.

Now … find a way to make that sound something you will never forget. 

And don’t let it stop.

I’m Lonny Cain … and that’s my Perspective.