Jim Krumel: No cell phones, or Facebook too?
People ask me who is the greatest “game changer” I have seen in my 47 years in the newspaper industry, the last 28 in Lima.
It’s easy to answer.
Not only has this handheld changed the press, it has transformed almost every business in the world. It is the vehicle that drives the so-called information highway. With the touch of a finger, you can land inside a store, order a sandwich or find the news of the day.
If you are under 30, you might be wondering how we survived without such a tool. No texting? No selfies? No Facebook? Well, in our business we produced information by talking to each other.
I know, pretty outdated. But he had his moments.
In fact, my favorite moment in the newsroom is actually PCO – before cellphones. This is a story published in The Lima News which resulted in three boys ending up on the Jay Leno show. If you’ve heard me tell this story before, I apologize, but that’s what you do when you get older, you repeat yourself.
Either way, it happened in the mid-1990s during a brutal heat wave in August. The news had been particularly slow. Our town editor, Keith Helmlinger, was looking for local stories – anything – to fill out the next day’s edition when he got a phone call from a woman in Lima. The woman said she passed several children waving to motorists on Gloria Avenue. The woman said the children’s politeness made her feel special.
Keith considered the call for a moment and began to wonder what made these kids stand on a street corner waving to cars. He sent a reporter to find out, who incidentally thought Keith was crazy. Children waving to motorists? Where’s the news? She left reluctantly, only because Keith pointed out that she wasn’t doing anything in the office other than enjoying the air conditioning, which to this day is one of the all-time classic lines I’ve heard in one. newsroom.
An hour later, the reporter returned and said she had a great human interest story. (Now the story had become his idea). She said the kids were bored and decided to try and get a hundred people to wave at them. They had fun stories to tell, she noted.
Later that afternoon, The Lima News received its daily call from the AP in Columbus, wondering if we had any news to share. (Remember, there weren’t any Facebooks or websites to check back then. Those of us in the communications arena had to talk to each other again.)
Keith told the AP it was so slow in Lima that he sent a reporter to speak with children waving to motorists. The people of Columbus begged for the story, explaining that every newspaper in the state reported a slow news day and had little to post on the News Feed.
Meanwhile, the AP office in New York City appealed to Columbus, asking for any unusual stories he might have. News in the country was also slow, he noted. As a result, the story of children waving to cars in Lima, Ohio was broadcast nationally and published by newspapers across the country.
But the story did not end there.
A member of the Jay Leno Show read the story and got an idea: he wondered if the people in Burbank, Calif., Were as polite as those in Lima. As a result, the kids were flown to California to take part in the Leno show, where they were asked to come out and see if they could get a hundred people to wave at them.
The children of Lima did their best, but unsurprisingly, few California motorists would have anything to do with their cuteness. They had places to go and people to see, after all. There was no time to smile or greet a child standing in the corner.
It made fans of the Leno series laugh and told us a funny story.
ROSES AND THORNS: A legend enters the rose garden.
Pink: To Dan Fanger, who will retire Jan. 7 as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Unverferth Mfg. at Kalida, ending a 56-year career with the company. Fanger started working at Unverferth at a time when gasoline was 30 cents a gallon, The Beatles released their album Rubber Soul, Sound of Music was the highest grossing film, and Bonanza was the top rated TV show.
Pink: At Arnett, Victor I and Victor II. They are one of the very few father / son teams to have retired from the Lima post office. Victor Arnett II recently retired as a postman at the Lima Post Office after 27 years of service, as well as three years in the military on retirement. His father (Victor I) retired as a clerk at the Lima Post Office on September 11, 1998, with 32 years of service, as well as four years of military service for retirement.
Pink: To Ken Meyer, who was named Bath Township Firefighter of the Year.
Pink: Perry’s big win over Shawnee in men’s basketball has made local sports fans wonder how far the Commodores will get when the tournament begins.
Spiked: The Leo Academy in Lima, formerly Golden Bridge, announced it would close at the end of the week, sending frantic parents looking for a school that would accept new students.
STROKE: Sometimes the best Christmas gift is to remember what you already have.
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.