Saturday, August 31, 2019
(Written from her retirement home in Lake Park, Fla.)
Aug. 7, 1977
Today’s column is dedicated to my employer, The Vindicator, of which I am very proud. Since 1936 I have been associated with The Vindicator, and prior to that with The Telegram, which was absorbed into The Vindicator. For some years I worked for NEA, Scripps-Howard, the old New Castle, Pa., Herald and the Chicago News. They were a good training ground, but from childhood The Vindicator had been the family paper.
Many other members of the Hamilton and Webb families were also associated with it in one capacity or another. Your Vindicator is a good newspaper, and I read many others that seem dull by comparison. Top management has been consistent and fair to its employees and the community. I never asked for a salary increase or a special favor, but somehow the owners were always most generous and understanding. They seem to know a great deal about their employees. We are a family.
After a long day solving problems connected with management, I have seen these men and women at the funeral homes where an employee or some member of his family was being buried. And there was a kindly interest, not a perfunctory card. We all felt we were part and parcel of the paper. The paper prints the news but does not search out scandal for the sake of circulation. Now and then an editorial or news story steps on somebody’s toes, but with hard facts and no desire to “get even” as so many people in high places in the media do. The paper is generous with space for anything that will improve or aid the community. Even when nasty people attack motives, The Vindicator never holds such persons up to ridicule.
In all my years with The Vindicator, I was never asked to build up a story against any cause or individual. You can live with this kind of newspaper, knowing full well the staff works constantly to bring you the news of the day, not only of the world, but of your community, your hobbies, your interests. And I might also add you had better be sure of your facts and know what you’re writing about. Some years ago, a vicious woman visited the owner and demanded I be fired. She had the audacity to tell him how to run his paper. Nothing happened, of course.
The Little People
You don’t have to be somebody very important or very wealthy or influential to have your news in The Vindicator. We print all the court news about everybody, who bought a new car, who got a marriage license, a divorce, gave a party, got married, had a baby or died. And this along with world and national news too. Our features are chosen for their worthiness. Our syndicated columnists have to be interesting to be included, and we get all of them. A dull column goes in the wastebasket, and we have big ones, and is replaced by one with sparkle and dash in it. To have worked on The Vindicator is an open door to many other papers and many other lines of work. Our people have gone on to considerable fame. I won’t list them because I’d forget somebody and then be forever checking up. Among the recent innovations at The Vindicator is its coverage of the stock market as more people became interested. And the type is large enough for aging eyes to read without a magnifying glass as well as eyeglasses.
The owners did not hesitate to name a woman as managing editor when the time came. We have women in other capacities, unheard of a few years ago. Our photographers must surely be among the best in the country, and they have the equipment of the big city photo teams. I’m not much of a sportswoman, (too busy), but our sports pages have long been singled out as the best in the country. I noticed in Florida that locals who read my paper always turned to the sports pages. Our advertising pages “pull” because the Vindicator does not accept fraudulent advertising just to make a fast buck.
Anybody can get into our society section in sharp contrast to many papers that establish critical lines of family and position. The business and financial news, the TV and theater news is done well. We cover the news, but not in a smart aleck way when it comes to the arts. “Puff” pieces may never get printed, but the writers are not scorned. I like the way the paper supports the schools, religion, neighborhood affairs. It is truly a family paper.
Others Like It
When The Vindicator is put in my mailbox in Florida, I glow with pride when someone asks to read it when I have finished. Big city papers come in, but nobody ever asks for them. One woman wants it long enough to read the comics. Another wants it for Erma Bombeck, and some folks say, “What does your paper think of Jimmy Carter?” I swell with pride at this recognition. It’s not too difficult to get on the staff of a big city paper, and in my time, I’ve had several offers.
But you never know the people you are asked about, never know the background of someone in trouble and how the handling of a news story can mean so much to an individual. The Vindicator’s owners haven’t the least idea I am writing this, and they may say not to use it because they are modest people. But I feel I have the right to speak well of the paper that has been generous to me for many years, generous to the community. Among other things, you wouldn’t have an airport or a state university if it wasn’t for behind-the-scenes work of The Vindicator. No wonder I am proud to be part of it.