THE WAY I SEE IT: The printer's ink continues to flow
In Feb. 23 issue, Russell County News By Barbara Sharp Zimmerman, Columnist
My family goes back a long time with the Russell County News.
When my Dad was a starting guard on the Jamestown High School team for five years in the 1920s, beginning as an eighth grader, he would go play the games, then come back to the newspaper office and handset an account of the game directly into type without writing the story first.
All through high school (he was in the first graduating class of JHS), and until he went to Washington as a Congressional aide to the U. S. Representative John M. Robsion in the 1930s, he worked at the paper, with time off to take a three-month course at Bowling Green Business College.
My Uncle Hugh Sharp drew by hand the Old English lettering of thepapers longtime banner.
After several years in Washington, the small town boy wanted to come home. By that time, he had married my mother and they had two young children. When theyfirst came back to Russell County, Dad served as the Selective Service Agent in the early 1940s, then he and Buel Gaskin purchased the Russell County News, with Dad in charge of the reporting and Buel in charge of production.
My cousin, Philip Sharp, often worked for the paper in the 40s. But the paper couldnt support two families, so Dad went to work for the construction company building Wolf Creek Dam in the late 40s.
However, the printers ink was still in his blood. By the time the Dam was finished, Buel had died, and the paper was going downhill. Dad couldve gone to work at another construction site for the company that built the Dam, but he wanted to stay home. So he purchased the paper from Buels heirs.
In the 1950s and 60s, the family helped with the paper. My brother worked there. I worked there, catching the first run of the paper off the ancient letterpress before the second run when it went through the folder.
I wrote a Little League column as a 12-year old. As a college student, I would help sell greeting ads at Christmas time and write all kinds of things in the summer. I encouraged Dad to install a photo lab and buy the equipment needed to have pictures in the paper. My Mother wrote a personals column sometimes and served as an unofficial reporter from time to time.
The paper came out 51 times a year, with the week between Christmas and New Years the only break Dad ever had.
Each week after the paper was printed, Dad would sit down and begin reading it as if hed never seen it before. And he would read until he invariably spotted a mistake, then he would sigh and say, Ah, now we have something to shoot for next week. Perfection was elusive.
The pressure of producing a paper continually plus doing job printing on the side to help make ends meet eventually caught up with Dad, and in the early 1970s, he decided to accept an offer to sell the paper. He was glad to get out from under it all, but he hated what happened to the paper.
So, now after being a throwaway shopper, The Russell County News is coming back as a regular newspaper, though still technically a week-ender.
At the kind invitation of David Davenport, I will continue the family tradition by contributing to it. Guess I still have newspapering in my blood. And once again, we will have something to shoot for next week.
The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
P.O. Box 190
120 Wilson St.
Russell Springs KY 42642
Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
404 Monument Square
Jamestown KY 42629