Stop the presses! Literally. Here's a bitter-sweet story you'll enjoy that in a 'Forrest Gump' sort of way involves me and the now retired Cincinnati Post newspaper.
The Sweet Part
On Sunday, December 30, 2007, I learned that an article dated December 26, 2007, titled "Boxing Day grounded in kindness" by Jan Perry appeared on the Cincinnati Post Web site. The article discussed the Boxing Day holiday celebrated on December 26 in several countries around the world and tied it in with the topic of kindness, in particular, random acts of kindness. Here's a screen shot of the article (click for larger size):
Jan's article listed eight kindness-related Web sites with blurbs about each one's pay-it-forward kindness offerings, including a link to my 2007 Kindness Gift Cards essays (highlighted in yellow above) on my ChrisDunmire.com Web site with the following gender confusion write-up (I'm a she):
"www.chrisdunmire.com/essays/2007/kindness- gift-cards.shtml — Here's a page that tells of one man's wish to do something for someone else on his birthday. Read his story and, if you're interested, you can download copies of his '"Kindness Pass-along Cards.' The cards are free, so print some in case you decide you want to pay for a stranger's coffee in the morning or do some small kindness anonymously. Why leave the card? Perhaps to encourage the recipient to do the same for someone else."
Besides overlooking the common misconception that "Chris" automatically means "he", I was thrilled to see my free printable Kindness Pass-Along Cards plugged in such a pleasing media sort of way. And as I often do, I saved a copy of the article page on my desktop because it's not uncommon for dynamic content on newspaper Web sites to disappear after a few weeks. And how glad I am!
The Bittersweet Part
In my excitement, I sent the newspaper article link to a few of my friends and planned to post about it on my Creative Slush Web sites' 15 Minutes of Fame section. Low and behold, I go to click on the article link this morning, and it's redirected to a kypost.com "Error: Page Not Found" page. Hmmm, I thought... maybe it's some kind of new year's January 1, 2008, switchover thing, so I did some investigating to be sure the article even existed (well, I am known to have an exaggerated imagination sometimes).
Guess what my probing revealed? I happened upon several news articles published December 31, 2007, on the Associated Press and Business Week Web sites by Dan Sewell with the following headline and bittersweet intro:
Post Newspapers Close After 126 Years
CINCINNATI (AP) — The Cincinnati Post said goodbye with its final edition Monday — its presses stilled after 126 years.
"_30_", a symbol traditionally used to signal the end of a dispatch, was the front-page headline in the last Cincinnati edition, about an hour before printing of its sister Kentucky Post marked the final run for the daily newspapers.
In a front page story about the closing, editor Mike Philipps said: "It's a sad day, but we're going out with heads high. This paper made a difference in the community."
Talk about hitting a deadline! What's the chances of appearing in a newspaper article during the last week of said newspaper's existence? So in a "should I laugh or cry" sort of way, I can't stop thinking about the irony of the article being about kindness. It was a true kindness for the writer to pick my Web site and tell the world about my small, but meaningful Kindness Pass-Along Cards. Something I've done to inspire goodwill in the world has been ethersphered into inked history ala newspaper archives.
I never knew of the Cincinnati Post until a few days ago. And this morning I learned of its 126-year legacy and of its cooling off closed-down presses which have run non-stop since the 1800s bringing news and information to Americans through two World Wars, the invention of TV, computers, and the Internet where moveable type now manifests news and information into a virtual, digital world changing at the speed of light.
This evolution in publishing will undoubtedly still many more printing presses in years to come — closing down those who have run the gamut of decades of daily news, special evening editions, and thick Sunday papers with comics wedged in between the sales papers and classifieds section.
Gutenberg was all about progress and I believe he would be proud. Thank you Jan Perry, and thank you Cincinnati Post. _30_
© 2008 Chris Dunmire www.chrisdunmire.com.