Tonawanda News — I’ve got two pieces of good news to pass along this week:
The first begins with a question: Do you remember Do You Remember? I’m betting many of you do.
It was the popular feature in our paper for years that looked back at this date in history. We were forced to stop compiling it when our newsroom microfilm machine finally bit the dust. That decision didn’t come without some seriously irritated readers who enjoyed the feature. I felt their pain, but given what resources we have, it was just an impossibility to regularly arrange for a staff member to give over an entire day to the project. I don’t mind telling you, it was a painful loss.
Do You Remember? (or DYR, as it’s called in the newsroom) has made returns in fits and starts since then, largely when we have interns working with us who had the time to head over to the North Tonawanda library.
So with all that, I’m incredibly pleased to report that we have partnered with the Historical Society of the Tonawandas to permanently return Do You Remember? to the pages of the Tonawanda News.
The partnership formed casually enough with an off-the-cuff conversation between News features editor Danielle Haynes and North Tonawanda Historian Ned Schimminger a few months ago. He remarked on the formidable cabinet in the corner of our newsroom that contained our microfilm archive, which dates back to the founding of the newspaper in 1880. Absent a machine to read the film, it had sat gathering dust. We offered to let the historical society take stewardship of it. In return, the staff there agreed to use the microfilm to create daily Do You Remember? files for publication in the News.
Many thanks are due to both Ned and Danielle for their hard work and cooperation — and to the volunteers at the society who are doing the work — to get this popular feature back in the paper. For the uninitiated, the feature looks back at news tidbits culled from that date’s edition of the Tonawanda News at intervals of 10, 25, 50 and 70 years prior.
Readers will be able to find it anchored on page 3A each day, starting Sunday. It will also be posted online daily under the local news section of our website, www.tonawanda-news.com.
My second bit of good news is announcing the hiring of a new reporter here in the newsroom.
Since the departure of former city editor John Hopkins and the subsequent promotion of Neale Gulley to fill John’s spot we’ve been running a person down.
Thankfully, with extra work from the whole staff, we’ve managed to cover most of the bases over the last two months. But with Canal Fest right around the corner, the timing couldn’t be better for me to present Jessica Bagley as the newest member of our news team.
A Kenmore native, Jessica is a recent graduate of the University of Rochester and, before that, Mount St. Mary Academy. She interned with us in 2008 and has plenty of experience in our neck of the woods.
She will take over coverage of the Erie County portion of our readership: The City of Tonawanda and her hometown Ken-Ton.
Jessica will be joining us starting after the July 4 holiday.
And with that, Neale will move full-time into his role as the newsroom’s second-in-command. He will still be writing, but with a broader focus on special topics, while also working with the newsroom staff to conceive and execute the compelling brand of community journalism readers have come to appreciate from him.
To facilitate that, I will be stepping in to take a larger role in the evening production process, previously more the city editor’s providence.
The long and short of it is we’re doing our best to marshall the limited resources a paper like ours has at its disposal to the maximum effect. If we do it well, you will notice even more stories of local interest in the weeks and months ahead.Eric DuVall is the managing editor of the Tonawanda News. His column appears Wednesdays and Sundays. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.