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Sunday, January 6, 2013

TIMES CHANGE, SO DO PEOPLE

This past Friday, The New York Times carried a piece by John Tierney, titled, "You Won't Stay the Same, Study Finds". The research, which appeared in the Journal Science, was conducted by a group of psychologists who came to the rather obvious conclusion that you can't predict your future  because your surroundings change, and so do you. Consider the technology that's been introduced in the past 25 years I don't know what the study cost, but I do know that approximately 19,000 people were interviewed for the research. I could have predicted  their conclusions in a five minute phone call.

Consider the I-tools used by  my three grandsons, and the experiences they have had thus far in their short lives. Even the 14-month-old has visited Italy twice to visit his other grandparents. I, on the other hand, never left Ohio. Except for yearly visits to Columbus to visit my mother's father and step-mother, I spent my time in  Cleveland. When I tell my oldest grandsons, "We didn't have a telephone until I was 13 and that it was a party line", and "We were so poor,  I  couldn't afford a sunburn until I was 17", they laugh and think I am kidding. I continually advise them to stay alert and observant (the only real advice passed on by my father)...you never know where the roads of life will offer detours and take you in a new direction.

Growing up in the Kinsman area of Cleveland, we moved to the "suburbs" in 1947.  It was a step up. I was sure I knew what I was going to do when I grew up. I had fallen in love with the newspaper business and I pictured myself travelling on the road with  the Cleveland Indians and working for one of the three Cleveland papers.It's hard to believe in today's world of instant news, but 65 years ago there were three dailies in Columbus too...The Journal, The  Citizen and The Dispatch. Two of the three are gone. The same is true in Cleveland. The  Plain Dealer has survived, though 60 Minutes suggested last night Steve Newhouse is considering curtailing its frequency, but The News and The Press have bit the dust along with other major market dailies whose remains are scattered in the wake of the Internet and along the information highway.

Editor of my junior high school's Roosevelt Reflector, I specialized in covering  all sports. In high school, I announced the action on  both the basketball court and the football field, and then reported on those events in the Cleveland Heights Black and Gold. When I was a junior, our adviser, Zora Rashkis, without telling me, entered one of my columns and my account of a crucial football game in the Ohio High School Journalism competition. A while later she told me she would pick me up for the drive to Kent State. I was surprised because usually only the seniors attended the convention. The ride was uneventful, but when we arrived other staffers began to congratulate me. I asked,  "For what?" They told me I had won two gold keys, one in each of the categories Mrs. Rashkis had entered my work.

Those wins gave me access to Gordon Cobbledick, Hal Liebowitz and Franklin "Whitey" Lewis, the three sports editors in  Cleveland. Each warned me that editorial pay was low, suggesting I find another major.. Lewis advised I not study journalism. He had an engineering degree from Purdue. "It's there as a fall back", he told me But the message didn't sink in. "One day I'll have your job," I told them. As I wrote earlier, you never know what's ahead. (More in Wednesday's post.) Comment to mrvinocur@gmail.com.