So long to the Gering Courier

Gc

Photo: http://is.gd/J111

So long to the Gering Courier, well at least to the building.  Earlier this month the Gering (Neb.) Courier closed its doors and the final two employees moved to the Courier office (cubicles) at the Scottsbluff Star-Herald.

Why am I blogging about it? The Courier was my first “professional” journalism job. It’s where I started my career back in 1981.

Although the Courier has now shut its doors, the newspaper pretty much moved out of the office in March, after 122 years. It was founded by A.B.Wood in 1887 and stayed in the family until ? When the Omaha World-Herald bought it. (I could not find the date, but it was still family-owned when I was there).

According to the Star-Herald story on March 12, 2009:

For several decades the majority of the building has not been used, as the staff has only needed the front office for a workspace.

Nearly 75 percent of the building has sat virtually unused for decades including the old pressroom, basement and second floor.

Star Herald Publisher Jim Holland says … the move “does not” mean the Gering paper is being eliminated, explaining it is being done to “control costs”. Holland says “with the current economic conditions keeping a building to have two employees was not justified anymore.”
Holland says editor Jim Headley and reporter Jerry Purvis will retain their positions with the Courier. Holland says Headley will also help on the Star Herald copy desk to “spread costs.”

When I was there we were competitors with the SH — even though they had a reporting staff of half a dozen, while the GC had only me.

Things I remember about the GC:

• The floor under my desk would heat up when the pressmen melted the lead Linotype slugs into pigs to be reused. It was pretty comfy in the winter, not so in the summer.

• The Press (a Thatcher) would literally shake the build when it ran and it sounded like a train rolling through (or at least a semi truck). One of the ad sales people would always say to me, “That the sound of money!”

• Jack Lewis, editor/publisher back then, kept his father in-law’s Army .45 in his desk drawer hoping for the day he could take out a would-be robber. Never happened while I was there.

• I was blinded for a few days after accidentally getting photo chemicals in my eyes. Very painful, but no lasting effects. Incidentally, the darkroom was about the size of a small closet.

• The Courier’s morgue was in a walk-in vault. Big heavy steel door – looked like an 1880’s bank vault — which it probably was.

• Lots of other memories, but I’d probably get sued if I wrote about them 😉

Interestingly, now that the GC has moved out, a new weekly paper opened up shop. The Gering Citizen ( http://www.geringcitizen.com/)

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