Sometimes I’m challenged coming up with titles to these blogs. In the spirit of the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon that always left us with two potential titles to their next episode, I decided to toss both of my thoughts on the headline.
I was in Swarthmore Thursday and received an email while there. I needed to print the attachment. I didn’t want to go home to do it so my first thought was to head to Crozer Library, but remembering the Daily Times was in Swarthmore, I stopped in to cash in a favor and ask if they’d print it out for me.
It’s always great to see the old crew I used to work with although only a few are left. There’s always a little catching up to do and a few laughs. What’s not a laughing matter is how few people work there. It was Thursday afternoon and I literally counted a staff of less than 10 bodies hard at work.
What used to be departments of people are now jobs being held down by one or two people. I learned that one guy was about to retire and there’s no plans to replace him, and he lays out the paper every day. As people leave, the corporate ‘Big Daddy’ absorbs much of the daily functions which is why the paper looks exactly the same in Delaware County, Trenton, and Bucks County, and all their other 20 or so area papers have that other identical look.
While hanging around waiting for editor Phil Heron to come in from his afternoon walk outside on a 935 degree day with 124% humidity, I chatted with the only reporter seated among the dozen or so empty cubicles surrounding her. It was Rose Quinn and this is where I got punked.
The news room has always maintained a white board with the names of people murdered in the county. As Rose and I were discussing that sad reminder of human tragedy, she brought to my attention that I was looking at last year’s board. She pointed to the wall displaying the 2017 board, and like a scoreboard showing a blowout, it said Chester 18 – Darby 1.
I had my little camera in my pocket and thought about taking a photo of the boards but I couldn’t find the nerve to reach for it. The image was too disturbing and I didn’t want to disturb you or the families of the victims by posting it here.
Rose just shook her head and asked what will make this change?
In walked Phil Heron after his walk with not a bead of sweat. (I was soaked just walking from the car in the lot). We did our usual chummy guy talk before asking for each other’s opinions on the news of the day. Phil knows everything moving in Delaware County and told me about the Aqua meeting going on at the Chester Water Authority and that the Chester- Upland School District was naming a new superintendent later that day. I wanted to ask him how the upcoming rate hike on the paper would pan out but was interrupted when Rose hollered across to Phil that ‘He got 33 to 100 years.’ I didn’t know what they were talking about.
On the way out I spent a moment with the only guy I hired while I was there, who is holding down the auto and real estate classified section damn near by himself. I can’t imagine. I remember how much work it was for the 6 of us.
I value my relationship with the employees at the Daily Times. I have no idea how they publish a paper everyday with what they have to work with.
Phil used to call it the ‘Miracle on Mildred Ave’ but since they’ve moved to Swarthmore the ‘Miracle on 320’ doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.
If you ask nicely, I may go back and take that photo. Even if I don’t, I know there are some very dedicated individuals pulling a lot of weight to get out a paper every day.
As much as you may have your opinion of the Daily Times, those guys are a class act.