Bob Ford shared this old newspaper page with me over the weekend. How old? So old that it’s from before I even worked at any newspaper, much less The State. My career starting in 1974 as a copy boy at The Commercial Appeal. But this is from Nov. 3 1972 — the Friday before I voted for the first time.
And yet — there are several people pictured here whom I would later work with, or at least come to know in the community after I arrived at The State in 1987 — Levona Page, Kent Krell, Margaret O’Shea and others. In fact, when I became governmental affairs editor in ’87, one of them was still on the beat and working for me: that hepcat Lee Bandy (dig the hair!).
This ad boasts of the resources devoted to covering politics, and indeed, back then newspapers had reporters spilling out the windows, and newshole to burn. It was still that way when I started covering politics myself in ’78. But then the long decline began, and finally newspaper finances went over the cliff this past decade.
One might also reflect on how different the SC political scene was in those days. First of all, there were no Republicans, except Strom Thurmond and Floyd Spence. So the Democratic primary was usually the election. Then there was the fact that the color barrier had just been broken in the Legislature, with a handful of black House members (but none in the Senate yet). This was two whole years before the legendary Pug Ravenel campaign, which idealistic then-young Democrats speak of today as though it occurred in the misty time of Camelot, or of King Elendil who wielded the sword Narsil before it was broken.
Anyway, I thought some of y’all would enjoy looking at it, too.