As a high school senior at University School in the Spring of 1977, I completed a senior project that involved spending several days each week for four weeks at The Cleveland Press, the city’s afternoon daily newspaper. This journal recounts my experience.
Richard D. Peters, my sophomore-year English teacher who had formerly penned editorials for the Press, inspired my project. I made arrangements through a family acquaintance, Press managing editor Bill Tanner. Bob Yonkers, assistant to editor-in-chief Tom Boardman, loosely supervised my days.
Note that word “loosely.” At a time before internships were common, no one at the Press knew quite what to do with a budding high school journalist. Bob Yonkers did the natural thing: each day he pointed me toward an editor or beat reporter or project manager, and said “Go with him (or her)!”
It’s doubtful there is a better way to get to know the inner workings of a news organization. Having been an editor of our school newspaper, I had a rudimentary grasp of reporting, editing, and production. At a time when shoe leather journalism still ruled at metropolitan dailies and computers were new and scarce, the people of the Press were generous and patient with me as I tagged along. And I got to see it all, from five claims races at Thistledown Racetrack to Mayor Ralph J. Perk hosting a ribbon-cutting event for a fracking well on city property.
I want to express special thanks to Bill Barrow and Donna Stewart, who oversee Special Collections in the Michael Schwartz Library at Cleveland State University, for their enthusiasm, encouragement, and support to my effort to bring this journal forward after forty-four years.
Reader, forgive the occasional conceits of a callow narrator, seventeen years old, and enjoy this glimpse into the life and pulse of a daily metropolitan newspaper — and a city of Cleveland — that no longer exists.