By Maureen Hart
Back when I was 12 years old and in junior high school, I wrote my first-ever article for the school newspaper. They published it—with my byline—even though the paper looked more like a pamphlet than an actual newspaper, I was hooked on writing.
I took three years worth of journalism classes in high school, where I was copy editor for a newspaper printed on glossy white paper—the same shiny paper we used when I became co-editor of The Beacon at Wilkes College (now University). Luckily, we changed to newsprint during my tenure there, and I felt like it was a “real” newspaper.
Out of college, I took a short detour into public relations for the Osterhout Library in Wilkes-Barre where I produced and moderated a book review show called “Between the Lines” for Channel 44. It was interesting but not what I wanted to do.
But when I got an interview with the late Al Williams at the now defunct Scrantonian-Tribune back in 1972, I was back where I belonged. One of my early articles at the Trib, on page one no less, was a first-hand account of my experience during the Agnes Flood. I was supposed to move to Scranton on the same day the flood hit Wilkes-Barre, and instead was stranded in my apartment as the waters rose higher and higher. That article made me a minor celebrity for a day or two, since there was not yet a lot of news coming out of the drowned city.
I began at the Trib when the composing room was filled with hot lead and the type was set by hand, backwards. It was a quintessential newsroom right out of “The Front Page,” filled with lots of crazy characters and cigarette smoke. Dunmoreans like Guy Valvano (our sports editor) and the late Tom Casey (our courthouse reporter) helped make working at the Trib a joy.
In time, we moved on to computers, which would now be so antiquated you would laugh. But we thought we were cutting edge.
When the Trib closed, I joined the quixotic quest to start The Sunday Sun, which struggled along for 13 months before closing. I had learned a lot through that experience, but I thought my newspaper career had reached its end and started doing some substitute teaching. Then, as fate would have it, my future husband John Hart (little did I know) and the late Bob “Moose” McCarthy roped me into helping them with yet another venture called The Scranton Weekly, and after that, I edited The Dunmorean when it was a weekly.
I left the business in 1997, but came back in 2005 and to “help” John with one edition of the monthly version of The Dunmorean, and as fate would have it, I’ve edited every issue for the past 10 years.
We were bobbing along as usual until last month when a bright and energetic journalism student at Ithaca College joined us for a summer internship editing copy. A native of Dunmore, Emily Fedor has proved to be a major asset from day one, but I’m certain her biggest contribution will be her suggestion that we start an online edition of The Dunmorean.
Emily put together a sample of our June newspaper to show us (you can see it at our website) and, when we absolutely loved it, she agreed to join our staff as online editor. Her edition of the July issue of The Dunmorean will be online this Friday, July 3.
The good news for us is that we have entered the 21st century. A large majority of people get their information online nowadays, and it was time for us to get on board. The good news for readers is that, even if you enjoy the printed version (and we hope you do), you can now augment that with extra stories and information featured online.
Since we do not have subscriptions—we are a free newspaper, as will be our online edition—this will make it easier for people who do not have an opportunity to pick up a print version. It will be a way for Dunmoreans who live out-of-town to share the same news as the people back home.
So, I hope you help us spread the news if you have family or friends who are missing Bucktown and its hometown news.
To view our online edition go to: www.DunmoreanNews.wordpress.com. (If you’re reading this online: Congratulations! You’ve found us!) In addition, please look at our new Facebook page, and I humbly ask you to “like” us.
If you do like us, you have Emily Fedor, a rising journalism star from Dunmore, to thank for that. I’m not at all embarrassed to admit that we old fogies have learned a lot from her already!