The Norwich Publishing Company

Kevin Doonan

The following is an article published in The Norwich Sun in 1952, celebrating the commencement of the paper’s 62nd year of service to the community. The article briefly describes the newspaper’s beginnings and then focuses the majority of its attention on the inner workings of the publication.



As reported by The Norwich Sun on March 17, 1952

The Norwich Publishing Co.

The Norwich Sun today begins its sixty-second year of publication. Actually, yesterday marked the 61st anniversary of Chenango county’s only daily newspaper, for it was on March 16, 1891 that The Morning Sun first appeared in the homes of Norwich.

The job of placing a Newspaper in practically all of the homes in the city places The Norwich Publishing company with other top industries in Norwich. While other industries produce durable goods, the publishing company “manufactures” a newspaper for daily consumption.

The predecessor of The Norwich Sun had its beginnings in the days when Norwich had not yet gained its foothold as a thriving manufacturing community. Only five years had passed since The Norwich Pharmacal company was brought to the city by a retired minister when the first issue of The Morning Sun was being read.

On March 7, 1904, The Morning Sun made its first appearance as the new Norwich Sun. On that day, a copy of the “Sun” was placed in every house in Norwich, Greene, Oxford, Smyrna, and Sherburne. Whereas The Morning Sun was published on Mechanic Street, The Norwich Sun was published, as it is now, on Lackawanna Avenue.

Six years after the county’s only daily became an afternoon paper, the late P.L. Clark took over the job of editor-in-chief. He was to remain with the paper for almost 40 years. During many of those years he served as secretary of the company in addition to editor-in-chief. With his passing in February of 1950, Norwich lost one of its leading citizens as well as a first-rate newspaperman.

Another top newspaperman and civic-minded citizen was Perry Browne, who to many people was The Norwich Sun. He joined the editorial staff of the Sun in 1921, and through the years served as sports editor, advertising manager, city editor, and finally editor and general manager. With his passing in March of 1951, Norwich again lost one of its beloved citizens as well as a top journalist.

Both men were largely responsible for the successful rise of The Norwich Sun. Both knew the characteristics of a small town daily, and both had the best interests of Norwich in mind whenever they sat down at a typewriter.

The Norwich Sun today is of course a far cry from the daily of 61 years ago. Still a firm believer in “personal journalism,” the Sun is keyed to the wishes of average people in an average small town. Local stories are written about, and more important, for what Sun writers believe to be the backbone of America, the family of Mr. and Mrs. Doe.

How Mr. and Mrs. Doe of Chenango County get their newspaper every day is a story in itself. Actually every day in The Norwich Publishing company is a story in itself. Yesterday is dead, and tomorrow does not yet count. Every action in a newspaper hinges on the present. There is much truth in the saying that nothing is as dead as yesterday’s newspaper.

With this in mind, newspapermen, including linotype operators, pressmen, makeup men, and “ad alleymen” work with day’s deadline always in mind. Just what are the steps taken before the news in The Norwich Sun reaches its readers?

To begin with, the Sun is a member of The Associated Press, famous news service which daily sends Norwich’s newspaper its quota of world-wide news. The Albany bureau of the AP services the Sun with complete national and international coverage. From the AP and others services, features which are now considered indispensable in many of the nation’s newspapers.

For local coverage the Sun has reporters covering beats daily. Each day a reporter has a certain amount of “stops” he must make. Gathering the news he returns to the office, and begins to play the role of spectator. A reporter takes the place of all those who cannot attend some event, or some incident. He merely tells the public what transpired: hence, he is considered a spectator who objectively tells the story.

Briefly, after the reporter’s copy has undergone all necessary steps in the editorial room, it is taken to the composing room where four linotype operators and two make-up men set type, form pages, and perform other functions which eventually result in the pages which readers see.

After pages have been set they are sent to the pressroom and prepared for a day’s run on the company’s large flat-bed press. Briefly then these are the steps taken in bringing the news to Chenangoites. Of course there are many other steps incidental to printing that must be taken before the news is ready for public consumption, so to speak.