They say that good things are worth waiting for.
I've been waiting for decades to bring our readers a Sunday newspaper. Previous owners and publishers dreamed of introducing a Sunday Clarion a few years after I arrived here in the early 1990s, but it didn't quite come to fruition.
I can't say that it's the first time Gibson Countians enjoyed reading a local Sunday paper, but it's been a long long time, at any rate.
Researchers at the Princeton Public Library tell me they've run across Sunday editions of our newspaper while doing genealogy research. My husband told me that he thinks he remembers seeing a Sunday Clarion, growing up here in the late 1940s and early 1950s — or possibly looking through some of his mother's genealogy clippings.
My search to find one has been rather elusive, but interesting. While I haven't found a copy of a Sunday Clarion — I confess I didn't spend months searching all the hundreds of thousands of microfilm pages of our papers preserved since Aug. 13, 1846 — I've learned a lot more about the newspaper history of our county. There have been about 38 different newspaper flags born in Gibson County in the past 200 years, according to Indiana State Library newspaper holding archives.
Only a couple of weeks ago, Dennis Black of Patoka stopped in the office with a wide cardboard folder. He inquired whether we would be interested in a couple of very well preserved, but fragile copies of the newspaper from the 1880s.
We found a spot to open the folder, which covered most of a desktop.
I took a look at the flag of one of the papers and didn't recognize that version of The Clarion. I went back to some local history books to discover that it was a competing flag that went out of business a few years later. But it's a part of local newspaper history and I was thrilled to be able to keep it in our office.
The newspapers of that era, and even up to the late 1960s and early 1970s when I first became a newspaper reader (yes, I read newspapers to find out more about the moon landing and to see my name in the paper for a local spelling bee when I was 8 in 1969), were often printed on pages that required some pretty long arms to to open and read. The size and face of the type was smaller and often lighter, the photos were smaller, and the language and structure of the stories were sometimes rather shocking by today's standards. Newspapers of old were founded by people with a definite political or social viewpoint, and balance wasn't something they were apparently concerned about. That's why there were so many of them — similar to the number of viewpoints you can find if you do a keyword search by internet.
Today, the mission of our newspaper is to bring the news of the day in Gibson County with balance, to tell stories about people in our community, to report on issues that affect us all at the local level. We are a lively community and we want to reflect that with a lively news report.
This Sunday edition gives us the space and time to do more of all of those things. Our Lifestyles section gives us room to offer readers a Sunday morning look at all the things going on in the county the next week, to present local features stories about friends and neighbors, a good recipe from our local staff's real-life kitchen adventures, photos of people at work at play.
Our extra-local news is always our first goal, but we will also have an opportunity to collaborate with reporters from sister newspapers on both sides of the Wabash River in some team series of feature and news stories about issues and places and people of common interest. Coming to Princeton from Illinois years ago, I know that there are city and county and state lines between us, but we live our lives across those boundaries every single day.
Whether this Sunday Daily Clarion is a first for you, or we're going back to something that you might remember arriving at your doorstep on a Sunday morning previously in our 171-year history, it's an exciting venture for us, and we hope you enjoy it.
We're always looking for local stories of interest. Give me a call (812-385-2525 ext. 1004) or email andrea@pdclarion if you have a story we can share with readers.