The community has relied on The Times for 157 years | News, Sports, Jobs
157 years ago yesterday, a man named Walter Hood started a new business in Marietta.
The first, number one, volume of The Marietta Times came off the press with little fanfare, but would go on to become one of Marietta’s oldest endeavors. My association with the newspaper would launch a “some” years later, but over the years, I’ve been keen to look at some of the older editions we’ve printed.
The Times was a weekly until 1898, so approximately 1,768 editions were printed during that edition. It then became a daily newspaper, normally printed from Monday to Saturday. There was a time in the early 1900s when we also printed a Sunday edition. For some time after the daily began, the weekly continued to be printed. In total, we have printed over 40,000 editions.
Newspapers are a unique form of manufacturing. Every day we start over with a new product, collect the news, write the stories, design the pages, print the newspaper, and then distribute throughout the region. We have done it 40,000 times in 157 years. Unbelievable.
The Times was originally printed on Front Street, near where the Salvation Army is now located. The floods pushed them towards the slightly higher ground of Putnam Street where the newspaper used a building in the middle of block 200 which still bears our name at the top of the facade. They tried to move to 508 Putnam, but when that didn’t work, the owners bought land near Glendale Road and built the building at 700 Channel Lane where The Times started printing in the early 1970s.
This is where my association started in 1977. Honestly, I thought a high school student with very little photography experience could walk into a newspaper and apply for a job as a photographer. Well it worked, and here I am. And here we are, printing a newspaper every day for generations.
Have things changed a lot? Yes, and thank goodness. Pulling out a newspaper is difficult. Before, it was even harder. Until the adoption of offset printing 50 years ago, the newspaper was cast in molten metal every day. The photographs were chemically etched onto metal. It sounds horrible and it probably was.
Things were a little better when I started, but it was still difficult. Journalists wrote articles on typewriters, then used a giant scanner to send the article to a typographer that could only output a certain width. The photos were all black and white as we had no way to separate the colors. When we finally got the equipment to do it, it was a 13-step process that took two hours per photo. When we made a photo page after Marietta College won the World Series, it took all night for the photos to be ready. National photos were transmitted over a dedicated phone line, which took 10 minutes for a black and white photo and 30 minutes for a color photo.
Technology has greatly simplified things and allows us to better serve our readers through website, app and electronic publishing no matter where you are located.
Have we always been right, well no, we have made mistakes time and time again. We erroneously predicted the flood level of over 12 feet in 1913. We put the assassination of President Lincoln on page two in 1865.
Dig deep enough through 40,000 editions and I’m sure you could find hundreds more. Some of which I’m sure I did – in fact, I know I did. Anyone who works in a newspaper knows that they made a mistake in the newspaper along with the whole city, when they read it in the clarity of a new day.
Of course, there is now social media, where Keyboard Warriors can report errors on their Facebook pages. Maybe there was a typo, or maybe we didn’t cover something we should have. Once last year, a community member encouraged people to stop supporting the newspaper because we hadn’t covered something that we probably should have had and it was something that was close to his heart.
Over 40,000 editions, 157 years, I doubt this is the first time anyone has flamed for something that was or was not in the newspaper, I doubt it will be the last.
It is important that as a community we support the newspaper. Many small towns have lost their newspapers, many much larger towns for that matter are no longer served by newspapers, creating information deserts where there is no one to cover the issues facing the public. The global pandemic has been tough on retail, including retail in Marietta. When the retail industry suffers, the businesses that serve it, including newspapers, also suffer.
People need their local newspaper, which is why we continue to work hard to provide it every day. A Facebook user recently complained about the cost of a subscription. For about the cost of a Pumpkin Spice Ice Capp per week, we print a newspaper, drive to your house, then have it and hundreds of other issues available to you on your smartphone, tablet or your computer. Seems like a good deal to me.
Feed your brain, read a newspaper.
Art Smith is the Times’ online manager, he can be reached at