Blast from the newspaper past

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.

6 thoughts on “Blast from the newspaper past

  1. E.P.

    Thank you for publishing this. I grew up in a family of news junkies, and newspapers were an all important part of that. Although I love being able to read so many online, it is not the same as having the actual newspaper in my hands (and newsprint on my fingers). Seeing the state of The State makes me sad in so many ways.

  2. Matt

    As I’m sure you realize, the color barrier was broken in the General Assembly long before the 1970’s.

    Students of South Carolina history should not forget this fact.

  3. Kathryn Fenner

    It’s funny how it’s the men who date the photo, not, as is more common, the women! Glasses and facial hair and haircuts (or rather the lack of them)….

    What a pity no one except maybe NPR has the resources to field a team like that any more.

  4. Herb Brasher

    Always enjoy pieces out of the past like this, even though I had already left Columbia for seminary up in Chicago when this page came out. Doesn’t seem that long ago, either, even if the hair is weird!

    I would have been able to vote in the ’68 election had they changed the voting age earlier (but I still think it should be 21.

  5. Thom Berry

    Has it been that long since working as a friendly competitor with that group of talented jurnalists? Each had their strengths but geez, the clothes and the hair.
    Thanks for sharing…

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