Among the things I found while clearing out my office of 16 years of accumulation:
• Lots and lots of printed photos. Back in the day, all photos were prints. Early in our process we scaled the photos using a proportion wheel – sort of like a slide rule – and then sent that calculation with the newspaper paste-up pages to the printers.
Even after we began laying out the pages in a computer, we still often used prints of photos but then wouldscan them. Now we only use digital photography, but still often scan prints brought in by readers – many of whom actually go to the trouble to make a print for use in the paper because they don’t realize we’re just going to convert it back into digital form anyway.
Among the photos were those of a great many politicians who’ve passed through over the years, all of whom drop off head-shots for us to use. I also found a couple of portraits of Bill Kirby, who’s taking over as interim publisher. I’ve helpfully slipped those under the glass on my vacated desk so visitors can see him smile.
• Piles of files. I found the case file on Linda Screnko’s rise and fall, including her federal indictment on charges of stealing federal grants.
I also found information on various successful and failed Columbia County ventures. That included the city/county consolidation effort from a few years ago (fail) and the push by Jeff Hardin to build a new Columbia County library (remarkable success).
Along with that, I found a big envelope bulging with photos and other information about Jabie Hardin, whose uncle, Jabez Sanford Hardin, is the former school superintendent for whom the Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center is named.
Speaking of former superintendents, I also found a portrait photo of Tom Dohrmann. He’s the only former Columbia County school superintendent whose photo isn’t on the back wall of the Board of Education meeting room because he declined to send them one. (They didn’t part on friendly terms.) Somehow I’m going to figure out how to put that picture up on their wall.
• Stacks of reporters notebooks, filled front and back with my scrawl that’s illegible to just about anyone but me.
• Loads of attaboys. I’ve apparently kept every thank-you note I’ve ever received. The best ones are hand-written and decorated notes from elementary school students, no doubt prompted by their teachers after I read Dr. Seuss stories to their classes.
Those I kept. Most of the rest of the stuff required several trips out back to dump the trash cans.
Somehow, I never expected to close out a 30-year career in journalism with the clang of a dumpster door.
Best of luck, everyone.
(Barry L. Paschal retired as publisher of The Columbia County News-Times and now serves as senior director of marketing and communications for Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA. Follow at www.