RJ TODAY EMPLOYEES
Company group photo taken during the Record-Journal’s 150th Anniversary Employee Celebration on July 20, 2017.
Employees reflect on Record-Journal anniversary Editor’s note: This article is reprinted from the April 1, 2017 edition of Record-Journal. By Mary Ellen Godin Record-Journal staff
As the Record-Journal celebrates 150 years, employees past and present talked about their experiences and how their jobs have changed over the years. “Newspaper people were always very dedicated,” said Tim Ryan, former executive vice president of the Record-Journal Publishing Co. “The news had to get out no matter what. People didn’t have other ways to get local news.” Readership demands for local news drove the circulation staff to work hard to maintain good customer service. During the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s, the Record-Journal had 700 youth carriers delivering newspapers before school. “We always marveled that we had a multi-million dollar operation in the hands of 12- and 13-year-olds,” Ryan said. Record-Journal Editor Ralph Tomaselli, who started at the paper in 1986, said the
newsroom was also aware that their efforts hinged on school children getting the newspaper to customers each morning.
Tomaselli arrived two years after the Sunday paper started, but its influence on the newsroom was still relatively new.
“You would have a great story that you were working on and back then you would finish up sometimes close to midnight,” he said. “And then you would think: ‘I just hope the carrier gets it to the customer.’”
“Everyone in the newsroom contributed to the Sunday paper, but you also had a group of staff that worked mostly on the Sunday newspaper,” he said. “Editors, reporters, designers, copy editors were hired in 1984 and assigned to focus on that one newspaper. Most of us strived to get assigned to the Sunday paper because it gave you a chance to do longer, more challenging stories. Having a story on page one any day was a big deal back then, having a story on page one of the Sunday paper was a really big deal.”
But as subscribers began waking up earlier, it became more difficult to ask students to deliver newspapers at 5 a.m. and the adult motor route was born, Ryan said. “People wanted the paper earlier,” he said. Former Senior Vice President Dave Lucey suggested a Sunday newspaper, and the staff worked to make the Record-Journal a seven day a week endeavor in 1984. “The hardest part of my job was getting the Sunday paper going,” said Ken Gilmore, who worked at the Record-Journal for 35 years before retiring in 2007. “We put in a lot of hours.”
Gilmore led the distribution operation, which was moved to the rear of 11 Crown St. Distribution handled the mailroom and advertising inserts. Distribution was a day and evening operation and maintaining the machines was critical. “I slept with one foot on the floor,” Gilmore said. 150TH ANNIVERSARY RECORD-JOURNAL