There was a time in this city when each day meant fiery competition between The Plain Dealer and the Cleveland Press. In “Gimme Rewrite, Sweetheart ...” (Gray & Company, $24.95) former Cleveland Press police reporter John H. Tidyman collects the experiences of reporters, editors and photographers who were on the front lines.
Why did you write this book? Newspapers were such an important part of our culture; they’re leaving, but the people who put them together are still here. I call [the book] an informal oral history.
Any particular story stand out from your days at the Cleveland Press? Another reporter and I were going to go over to Otto Moser’s, … but there was something happening at Public Square, so I went over, and a woman said, “Someone has taken hostages. … Talk to that woman over there.” The woman was one of the escapees. I didn’t have a pen or paper, so I ran into the Higbee Company, and I get a shopping bag and borrowed a pen from someone and talked to this woman, and then ran across the street and called the city desk.
How do you think readers will react to your book? Many will enjoy it because newspapers were a part of their lives. They got up in the morning, and there was The Plain Dealer, and in the afternoon there was the Cleveland Press. Between those two papers, good journalism was a matter of competition, so the book ends in 1982 when the Press was shoved off the East Ninth Street Pier.