DAZE WORK: Editor today, in limbo tomorrow
Thereís a good chance that by the time you read this column, after 36 years I will no longer be editor of the Banner Graphic.
Jared Jernagan has earned that role now, and officially takes over as your editor on Saturday, June 13. Trust me, heís no stranger to the responsibilities, having basically served as editor since May 2019 when my health issues knocked me down and out.
Thinking about how long I have been associated with the Banner Graphic as its editor is scary. I did some rough calculations and it totals more than 10,000 editions. No wonder newspaper editors have issues.
We didnít miss any publications in that timeframe either, putting out a paper during the Blizzard of 1978 and my personal favorite, the Downburst of 1990, when no one had power, yet our carriers were bringing printed newspapers to their doorsteps by 4:30 p.m.
Since coming here from Richmond, Va., in September 1975, Iíve gone from the copy paper-and-typewriter days to the advent of desktop publishing to todayís electronic newsroom where we work at computers smarter than those that landed a man on the moon and glance at the void once filled by typesetting machines and a composing room staff.
Like Charles Dickens, Iíve seen the best of times and Iíve seen the worst of times as your editor.
In November 1986 we were sitting on the lead story in the country as IBM announced its Greencastle plant was being closed, something IBM had never done. We took phone calls from the big guys like the New York Times, Washington Post, the wire services and others, all wanting to write the death of a small town story.
But we fooled them, and in 1991 I was writing stories from the shadow of the Alamo in San Antonio and the White House Rose Garden in Washington, D.C., as Greencastleís rapid recovery was chosen worthy of being named an All-America City.
Iíve outlasted eight mayors Ė Abie Frazier, Jane Harlan, Gerald Warren, Bobby Albright, Mike Harmless, Nancy Michael, Sue Murray and Bill Dory. Made two trips to Japan. Dozens to Cloverdale and Bainbridge. And at least one to the Big Four arch (Hello, Goat Man).
Thousands of stories. Good news and bad news. But my favorite is always the one Iím working on.
So figuring at least one byline in each of those issues over 36 years, thatís conservatively 10,000 bylines that have listed me as your editor.
Thatís what makes it so daunting as we search for a new title for my newsroom role. Just going to assistant editor makes it seem like Jared and I traded jobs, which we essentially did. Feels too much like a Benjamin Button moment for me.
Iíve been campaigning for editor emeritus, likening it to the emeritus professor role on a college campus. However, others think that would sound like I am retired, which I am not and donít plan to be in any immediate future.
Senior editor, city editor, managing editor, content editor, editor of heaven and earth (that would be religion and real estate) Ö other title suggestions have been tossed around and thrown out.
Personally, designated hitter is my favorite. But know this to be true ó this is the final time for the byline Eric Bernsee, Editor.