Photo 101: Putting big in a new daily scale

The Syracuse Post-Standard

Tuesday’s home delivered edition of The Post-Standard, on my side porch.

The big daily was a constant in my life for 29 years, five months.

Yes, my nickname for my former place of employment and the paper that got tossed on the steps of the Little Bitty shared by my dear wife Karen and I here in the Syracuse city neighborhood of Eastwood crossed my mind reading the seventh assignment for Photo 101. Cheri addressed the concepts of big and scale.

The Syracuse Post-Standard

Tossed for morning consumption.

How appropriate, I thought, as I grabbed my iPhone 6 early this morning to capture The Post-Standard from two angles, mine out my kitchen door and what the delivery person must see looking up toward our side porch after tossing the plastic bag that contains the newspaper.

The front page, above the fold.

The front page, above the fold.

I debagged the news and placed it on our kitchen tabletop as I poured my first cup of morning coffee in my mug the size of my head. First, though, more morning chores.

My first read, the sports section.

My first read, the sports section.

On the way to leading Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle out into the backyard personally — we’ve smelled skunk these past two days, and I must clip her leash to her and be ready to pull her away if any signs of too much curiosity near the fence or a black–and-white flash surface — I dropped the big daily off on my office chair in the living room, aka the recliner, open to the sports section, my usual first read.

Now, I knew these photographs of a newspaper that is only published for home delivery three days a week and thus is not really a big daily at all were not going to satisfy me as fulfilling the assignment.

So midway through my day, I drove my Chevy Cruze the still-auto-piloted 3 1/2 mile route to the very big building on Clinton Square that used to house the big daily.

The presses still roll here.

The presses still roll here.

The printing presses are still housed in the addition that was build when the company bought them brand spanking new about 15 years ago and immediately proclaimed us the most colorful newspaper in America. Yes, I thought from my position as entertainment writer and music critic, we did indeed look big and grand every single morning, The Post-Standard did. (The evening Herald-Journal looked sweet, too, until, like most p.m. papers in this country, it was folded by the company, shortly after 9/11.) The people who run the presses and the journalists who prep the stories and designs for print still work in the building, too.

But the journalists who concentrate on the online stories and advertising staff, including my dear wife Karen, have been moved to a different building one street, a couple blocks and a whole new world away.

A different perspective.

A different perspective.

That all makes my time spent here before the company-wide layoff on Jan. 31, 2013, seem far away to me.

The lot in which I used to park, guarded.

The lot in which I used to park, guarded.

I cannot say that I feel particularly welcome walking the perimeter, checking out my perspective.

Newsprint deliveries are still made to the big loading dock.

Newsprint deliveries are still made to the big loading dock.

The loading dock is still in use, but this scene makes me recall the newsprint-arrival days when the haulers would be parked around the block awaiting their turn to drop off the big rolls. Now the sign says this is Advanced.

The Clinton Street entrance.

The Clinton Street entrance.

After 6 p.m., the main lobby would close, and all employees would enter and exit the single Clinton Street door. Many, many, many for me, right past the smokers in the last two decades, and through that door.

The plaza, where big things happened.

The plaza, where big things happened.

The plaza was the hub of activity during daytime hours, where the public would enter and exit to visit for interviews, waiting for the reporter to come down to the big lobby. Inside the sacred words of First Amendment adorned a whole wall, and framed work from talented staff photographers entertained visitors, always.

A lofty place.

A lofty place.

Oh, how I held this building and all it meant to my life in high esteem, for 29 years, 5 months.

Which daily papers did you or do you read, and what drew or draws you to them? Did my photo essay in total work for you, and why? What’s your favorite photo here, and why?

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46 thoughts on “Photo 101: Putting big in a new daily scale

      • LoL I have a great pic somewhere in my stash of me hold my camera standing in front of a sign at a power plant that says no camera allowed. It was begging me to take the photo!!! Those signs are no more than shiny red buttons if you ask me 😱😈😳

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  1. It’s all a bit sad…like pictures of things that are already part of history. I remember writing a column for the News Gazette in its fancy building in Champaign Illinois, while going out to eat at the Courier Cafeβ€”former site of the Gazette’s competing daily, The Courier. My editor used to tell stories about the old days, when he and the other reporters raced to scoop their competition.

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  2. The series of photos along with the story make a very impactful package Mark. It is a story repeated over and over, one which so many of us have seen or have friends who have seen. In the context of the package, the photo of the building with no name and the empty, gated, parking lot marked for visitors and employees, stuck me the hardest – in the context. It speaks to me of the emptiness, the loss of camaraderie, the sense of the world moving on and away.

    That said, Mark, I am now reading and commenting on your words and i live in another country, hundreds of miles from you. You are impacting how I think and what I do with your words ( so don’t get me into trouble, eh? Ha!) and that would never have happened prior to the closing of the building in those pictures. You see a “new” daily “big” that includes your doorstep and recliner – and it does – and yet it also includes people from around the world who would never have read your words had you still worked at the Big Daily. In my mind Mark, your new “daily” is now international whereas it was only local for many years. Buildings and property and offices may have been sacrificed and yet in the end the network endures , and expands.

    When you sit down now to write Mark, your “daily” is much, much larger now than it ever was.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul. My trusted partner in reading and writing and commenting from Ottawa, sir. My friend, more and more, every day, over these last two years. Thank you. Your comment here has made me a happier person, because of your thoughfulness and big scale of vision.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I liked how you not only illustrated big and size in this post. I think my favorite photo is not the building or the places you walked around to capture, Mark. It is the one with your favorite chair, the paper waiting for you to read, once ‘your chores are done.’

    The part of your heart that will always remain with this newspaper may always feel like it took a big chunk out of your heart.

    I wanted to tell you about our local Columbus Dispatch. For the ones who carry briefcases and the ones who wished to save money at the newspaper printing it, they have reduced the size. It is about the size of a neighborhood paper. (Half the length and width of a regular newspaper.)

    In Cleveland, they decided at the Plain Dealer, to just deliver every other day, which confuses my Mom immensely. The paper did not ‘shrink’ in size just in daily amounts.

    I liked this post very much, but it also saddened me, too. I think of how I ‘whine’ about teaching, which only amounted to a total of 15 years, about 9 in between with child care, 4 in a nursing home setting. I don’t have one place to miss, which really makes me get teary eyed about your being let go, Mark. I am glad to have you as a friend, maybe by this one huge negative action, we all get the biggest benefit of all: You, our fellow blogger and friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you again, Robin, for being a friend and for your thoughtfulness and compassion. I was fortunate to have that time at the big daily before the world changed my industry and hometown component of it.

      FYI, your mom’s Columbus paper is owned by Advance, the same national company as the Syracuse paper.

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    • Commenting to you both, because, having lived in both Oswego, NY, and Columbus, OH, I read and enjoyed both papers, and now find it interesting to learn they were jointly-owned : ).

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  4. That is heartfelt with great images, fantastic work! (as much as I am qualified to say that as just another blogger). Much respect from the other side of NY State.

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      • We are together Mark, that is true – but some of us (like me) come to blogging with no writing credentials at all – so, I am not qualified to judge — I can only call it like I see it—-And this is good stuff. Shows the warm little home against the big cold emotionless business that also was a home. Profound stuff that must have been difficult to explore with camera and words. Great blog!

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  5. oh, this was a great size perspective project. it shows how big the paper was in your life as well as how it looks to the rest of the world. it seems unwelcoming now and like a huge, looming giant, as opposed to how it felt to you back then, when you were a part of it, homey and familiar.

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  6. Amazing, the amount of emotion a few words and pictures can convey, Mark. Skillfully juxtaposed, that is. I could feel the haunting memories almost as if they were my own.
    And what is it with the skunks this year?

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    • When I worked there, sometimes my guests would park in that lot and I’d snag them tokens from the security guard so they wouldn’t have to pay the piper, Bill. The fee was to keep unattached freeloaders out. Yeah, like me, now.

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  7. Mark, thank you for this trip down your Memory Lane, or Clinton Street, and the melancholy retrospective woven through it. I’ve never worked at a “large” paper, only our small twice-weekly, with connections to larger papers only through syndication. I believe the “dailies” have had a more difficult time because a good portion of its leading news is world news β€” something people get online. Only the local interest stories β€” community, arts, etc. β€” are exclusive. For small papers, that exclusivity has kept them alive, i.e., you aren’t going to find the results of last night’s local city council meeting, or photos of your local middle PTA talent show, on CNN or The Herald Examiner.

    Unfortunately, the collateral damage is the loss of writers such as yourself, who provide a connection beyond headlines.

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    • I am glad your local paper and your universal syndication chords keep you going as you are, Ned. It is obviously a spot in which you flourish and prosper.

      Our industry is in such a fluid state. I love the Internet. I adore my blog now. But as a moneymaker, it has yet to catch up to the old ways. And I will forever mourn my daily-newspaper, ink-stained wretch heritage. Back in the day, I never dreamed the glorious phrase “Stop the presses” could carry such a connotation of dread. Thanks for your analysis and kind words.

      Liked by 1 person

    • That particular shot has a back story, too, Rachel. When I started in 1983, the facing held the names of three newspapers: the largest circulation evening Herald-Journal, my morning Post-Standard, and Sunday Herald-American. First the Herald-Journal was folded and came down. Then the changed the name of the Herald-American to The Post-Standard, and that came down, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The others have expressed my thoughts, and more eloquently. Very good post, Mark. My “papers” now are all online: The Guardian, the NYT, NPR, Mother Jones, the Daily Kos, CAPoliticalReview, The Week, Slate, Wired News, Latest Science News–and Buzzfeed!

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