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Printed newspaper page really can’t be replaced

There’s just something about the yellowed, brittle pages of an old newspaper that makes me feel nostalgic.

Unless I’m sitting on my living room couch on a Sunday afternoon, or on a stool at my kitchen counter early in the morning, these days I seem to be spending precious fewer minutes reading the printed newspaper.

When I’m at work, it’s become much more convenient to read the daily publication via the “all-access e-edition” on my computer screen.

Yes, I still subscribe to the print editions of both the Tribune Chronicle and The Vindicator at home, and each morning when I arrive at the newsroom, I find copies of freshly printed newspapers stuffed in a plastic bin affixed to my office door.

I usually throw them on top of my unkempt desk — usually still messy from the night before — where the newspapers pile up. Eventually, I might shift the growing stack to a metal rack in my office before eventually tossing them into the recycle bin.

If I don’t read the print edition at work, it’s because I either already read it at home before jetting off to work or I read the stories online throughout the day.

Frankly, the online version can be much more convenient for seeking archived information — and certainly better for keeping my messy office a little less cluttered.

Still, I admit it makes me a little sad when it occurs to me the amount of time I no longer spend with the printed page.

It’s true that memorable clippings tucked away in a drawer (or in a bin stashed under my bed) are viewed differently — perhaps more affectionately — than digital articles copied from a newspaper website to a computer hard drive or portable flash drive to be revisited later.

I was moved to write this column when, a few weeks ago, our newspaper’s General Manager Ted Snyder cleaned cabinets in his office and came across the August 22, 1990, Tribune Chronicle.

Back then, the typical newspaper press printed from giant rolls of paper much wider than today’s. Ted and I chuckled as he pulled out a ruler and measured the 1990 edition to find the front page was nearly 14 inches across. To spread open the newspaper, you almost need to read it at the kitchen counter, especially if you have short arms! (By comparison, today’s front page is only 10.5 inches wide.)

Particularly noteworthy on this Veterans Day weekend, the Aug. 22, 1990, edition carried the front page headline: “No end in sight to gulf crisis — Third carrier joins flotilla.”

Inside was the 1990 high school football preview section.

The lead story in the high school football section outlined the first season of a newly merged Warren High School football team. “A new decade … a new tradition,” was the headline.

The Raiders were being coached by Phil Annarella, longtime area coach who was serving as head coach at Austintown Fitch when he died in 2019. The section carried a large photo of him holding a football emblazoned “Harding Raiders.”

Also pictured in the special section among 1990 Harding Raiders players was then-high school junior Korey Stringer. Stringer, of course, went on to play in the NFL. The Warren native and local hero died in August 2001, 11 years after the 1990 newspaper was published, after suffering heat stroke during the Minnesota Vikings’ training camp.

I smiled to myself as I flip through the yellowed pages, taking a moment to reflect even on the bylines of reporters who wrote the stories, many of whom were previous co-workers and good friends.

Among the bylines was Dave Dorchock, longtime and beloved sportswriter who I recall passed away after battling cancer for years.

Indeed, the digital age will continue to grow, and our news industry will evolve and adapt to it. As a result, many, like me, will become increasingly reliant on the e-editions. But make no mistake. Despite all that, the nostalgia that comes with the printed page can never be replaced.

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