“On the Shoulders of Giants – 80 ESG Years”

I don’t know exactly when I knew that production was not going well.

Perhaps it was the cursing when I opened the office door. Or maybe it was the clanging of the exacto knife as it bounced off a wall.

At any rate, neither the cursing nor the bouncing knife seemed to faze the guest whom I was showing the “Erie Square Gazette” offices to. But Larry had seen an awful lot in his career as a librarian at the college. So as we quietly shut the office door behind us, I looked at Larry and shook my head.

He said, “Bad day, eh?”

But in the mixed game of life, we need a bad day or two, a day of Lord-what-is-this-crap to make us appreciate the good ones, right?

In my forty-year love affair with newspapers and newsrooms, the good outshines the bad about 100 to one.

As adviser to the student voice of SC4 for at least a dozen of those forty odd years, I looked forward to a recent series by past staff members as they wrote about their time at the ESG, as the newspaper celebrates 80 years as the student voice of SC4.

GROUP PHOTO Left to right are:  Anne (Breiderick) Vought, editor-in-chief 1987-1988; Brian Johnston, editor-in-Chief 2009-2010 and current copy editor; Roger Fleury, sports editor and production editor 2004-2006; Raymond Robinson, current managing editor; Elizabeth Whittemore, current photo editor;  Jenny Walker, photo editor and production editor 2009-2010; Danielle Kennedy, staff writer and copy editor 2008; Tom Obee, co-editor of the “Jay Cee,” former name of ESG newspaper 1962-1963; Twana Pinskey, current editor-in-chief. Back row: R.J. Mey, editor-in-chief 2001-2003; Bob Kroll, staff writer 2002, managing editor 2002-2003, and Editor-in-Chief 2003-2004; and Professor John Lusk, Erie Square gazette Adviser. Kneeling in front, Cody Kimball, current web master. Photo by Clay Kimball

GROUP PHOTO Left to right are: Anne (Breiderick) Vought, editor-in-chief 1987-1988; Brian Johnston, editor-in-Chief 2009-2010 and current copy editor; Roger Fleury, sports editor and production editor 2004-2006; Raymond Robinson, current managing editor; Elizabeth Whittemore, current photo editor; Jenny Walker, photo editor and production editor 2009-2010; Danielle Kennedy, staff writer and copy editor 2008; Tom Obee, co-editor of the “Jay Cee,” former name of ESG newspaper 1962-1963; Twana Pinskey, current editor-in-chief. Back row: R.J. Mey, editor-in-chief 2001-2003; Bob Kroll, staff writer 2002, managing editor 2002-2003, and Editor-in-Chief 2003-2004; and Professor John Lusk, Erie Square gazette Adviser. Kneeling in front, Cody Kimball, current web master. Photo by Clay Kimball


Not surprisingly, while perusing those columns by past staffers, I read a lot of what I thought I’d see.

Memories of good times missing deadlines, losing copy, having sources act as if you had the plague, trying to come up with some decent filler after someone yet again didn’t come through with that story, and bonding with some of the best people someone could ever meet. People who are passionate about news, information, democracy and each other.

Since 1931, students at this school have been writing the history of their time and this school.

Contrary to the beliefs of some, I wasn’t there at the beginning when most likely two or more youngsters gathered and talked about starting a newspaper. They probably approached a professor and asked if he or she would help.

And someone a lot like me said, “Sure.”

That’s what the news bug will do. Take your common sense and send it packing, all for the love of daily information found in newsprint.

Today, that print stares at most readers from a screen, but the content is the same. And the best people found in news rooms then are the best people in news rooms now.

And although I didn’t know that first adviser or staff, I want to thank them, and all the others who came after, most of whom I’m pleased as all get out to have known.

Such as the students who broke into the college on a weekend to do their work, to write their stories and lay out copy.

Now when’s the last time students wanted to come to school so badly that they’d jimmy a locked window to get in?

Those were passionate news kids, and granted, their heads should have ruled their hearts, but who can fault that heart?

I want you to know of the three student staff who kept this paper together for a year. Three students, twelve issues, one year.

Of the staff of ladies who wanted an all sex issue, and the dean of students who got irate when we accepted an advertisement for chewing tobacco. And that this college is part of student press case law: St. Clair Community College vs. Roberta Lueth, and Roberta won.

And the infamous couch, as if that’s necessary for students to canoodle.

That crazy first amendment has let all of us at the ESG have too much fun finding, writing and producing news for eighty years.

So come by and visit us any time, even production night. Maybe you’ll stay for an hour or maybe for years.

And since “cut and paste” means something different now, you won’t have to worry about flying exacto knives.

John Lusk

Adviser

One thought on ““On the Shoulders of Giants – 80 ESG Years”

  1. John, I was delighted to see the celebration for the 80 years of student driven excellence (and dedicated advisors) who prodded and provoked the staff to constantly reach for the next rung and pull themselves and the ESG to the next higher level of excellence. I joined the staff in 1995-1996 as managing editor during the days when cut and paste truly meant Exacto knives and vats of hot wax. The photo staff shot countless roles of black and white kodachrome and buried themselves in the darkroom to produce the ‘perfect picture’ that told the story in 1,000 words.
    In 1996-1997 I took over the helm as Editor in Chief. We spent countless hours flogging through production. Gannett graciously endowed us with a considerable grant that allowed us to jump light years ahead of the Times Herald in production processes and prepared us for careers in ‘new age’ computer production. We were there in the transition period coming out of the closet (DARK ROOM)and moving one baby step closer to the on-line journalism being produced today. It was a great ride and an honor to be a part of the amazing adventure we know as the Erie Square Gazette. Many thanks to you John for having the patience to lead the staff forward and for sharing the belief in the true power of the press. Best wishes for many more years to come…

    Joe Ann Burgett
    Former ESG Editor in Chief/Managing Editor
    1995-1997

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