Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Memories of a long ago May 11


On this date my thoughts always drift back to my first day on the job at the Muncie Evening Press. I wasn't concerned about my ability to do the work on that May 11 thirty-eight years ago, but I wondered about the things you always wonder about on your first day on a new job: will you like the working conditions, the other employees, the assignment handed you?
I had been hired a month earlier by Harold Trulock, the managing editor. At the time I was county bureau chief for a string of newspapers and a radio station in the heart of the Lake Erie snowbelt in Northeast Ohio. They asked me to stay until the May 5 election and I could hardly say no. By remaining there I also had an unplanned assignment, covering the May 4 shootings at Kent State.
After a nightmarish winter of commuting more than seventy-five miles in each direction I was more than happy to say goodbye to the snow belt. So on a fine spring morning when the flowers were blooming and the blossoms were on the trees I walked a couple of miles to start work at 7 a.m., arriving early enough to have a cup of coffee at a little restaurant half a block from the paper.
The previous Friday I had stopped by the newsroom to pick up a few back issues of the Evening Press so I could spend the weekend studying its style. Every paper has its own way of handling abbreviations, titles and so forth. I also wanted to familiarize myself with the names of the city's office holders and prominent people as well as the major stories of the time.
I had a huge surprise when I walked into the newsroom and a slim man with shoulders stooped from long years of bending over a desk stood up and said, "I'm Jack Richman, the city editor. Jack Richman, whose stories I had read in the Evening Press as far back as the late 1930s when he was a reporter. He turned out to be by far the best city editor I ever worked for.
All went well on my new job. The other reporters were old timers in the field, the atmosphere was noisy and hectic as the 12:30 deadline approached. In many ways the Evening Press was the last of the old-time newrooms found in the book and movie "The Front Page." It was my kind of place and they were my kind of people.

This photo showing a portion of the newsroom was taken in front of my desk. With first-edition deadline approaching, Jack Richman (right front) picks up a late sheet of copy. As usual, his ashtray is overflowing.

http://www.dickstodghill.com/

3 Comments:

Blogger Jeff, KE9V said...

Nice memories Dick, thanks for sharing. Although we never met during your tenure in Muncie, I was always a fan.

First, being a Muncie Central graduate and a lifelong Bearcat fan, I loved reading what you had to say about that magic. I still have a book on Muncie Central basketball history penned by you and your wife.

I also recall your writing about the Big Red Machine. Though I'm no fan of baseball, in the early 70s I can't forget the view of my Dad in his recliner in the family room while we all watched TV -- and Dad would be holding a transistor radio to his head listening to the Reds games...

More good memories.

I was sorry to learn that you left town when you retired -- I figured you were just "one of us" by that point and would stick it out with us.

But it was a treasure to find your blog and read what you still have to say after all these years.

All the best from Muncie, Indiana!

Jeff Davis

4:28 PM  
Blogger Dick Stodghill said...

We still keep in touch with Muncie, Jeff and didn't leave angry. We wanted to be out from under the burden of a house, knowing that physically it would grow increasingly difficult to maintain. One by one our favorite places were closing up, too, and health care was a major consideration. Jackie's daughter and granddaughter still are there and we subscribe to the Star Press. So we keep up on everything, including the Bearcats.

6:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While it was Muncie's loss when you moved you certainly can't be blamed for fleeing.

Muncie really has become a tale of two cities like the Washington Post story from last week indicated. From certain angles Muncie is still thriving especially around Ball State and the Ball Memorial medical campus. Downtown and on the near south side where I spent much of my time in Muncie it is a very different story. They even bulldozed Miller's tavern!

6:24 PM  

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