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Issue Date: December 2012

Our Two-Newspaper Town

When the Cleveland Press printed its last edition in 1982, a little part of the city died, too. Maybe nobody knows this better than Dick Feagler, who worked at the Press before becoming part of our staff. He offered a lengthy obituary for the paper in our August 1982 issue.

 The Press was proud of the way it handled obituaries. When I went to work for it in 1963, it was proud of the way it did everything. Proud of the fact that it paid the estimable Maxwell Riddle to spend his full time as a practicing expert on dogs. Proud of its brand new building at the end of Ninth Street (a site chosen by Louis Seltzer who was confident that the city would move in his direction which, obediently, it did). Proud of the fact that Theodore Andrica, who spoke a babel of languages, was sent yearly on a trip to the old country where he would look up relatives of Cleveland's ethnic citizens and deliver greetings from the New World. Proud, indeed, that Cleveland's large Hungarian population was due in part to the fact that Andrica and Louis Clifford (perhaps the greatest city editor in the nation in the fifties and sixties) had traveled to the Hungarian border during the 1956 revolution and greeted and wrung the hands of fleeing refugees.

The Press was proud that it had convicted Samuel Sheppard of the murder of his wife, for the Press saw itself as a righteous instrument of the Almighty's will which could function where the courts might fail. The Press was proud of the rumors of the tunnel from City Hall into its editor's office through which mayors elected by the Press could slip unnoticed to receive instructions. The Press was proud of the fact that it paid the bills for other newspapers in the Scripps-Howard chain • proud of the fact that it scorned those other newspapers ... proud of the fact that it paid its own journeymen reporters so much more than union scale that they had forgotten what union scale was (something most PD reporters could learn by merely glancing at their paychecks). The Press was proud of its power, proud of its skill, proud of its staff, proud of the fact that hundreds of people in town, including scores of unendorsed and chastised politicians, referred to the paper and its editor as "that goddam Louie Seltzer and that goddam Cleveland Press." The Press was a proud place and it was proud of its obituaries.

— from "Stop the Presses (for the very last time)," August 1982 (read the full column here

Press Past

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