Corrections or additions?
This column was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on December 22,
1999. All rights reserved.
Between the Lines
If I had it to do all over again the only thing I would
have done differently would have been to organize a forum for the
millennial eve, and invite some of the brightest minds in Princeton
to ponder the past and assess the future.
The great thinkers, I now realize, might have led us away from the
narrow-minded Y2K concerns that have gripped the nation for the past
few years. If we focussed only on the turn of the century — not
the whole 1,000 years — we still would have had a cornucopia of
food for thought.
As a not-so-great thinker, I could have picked one of the several
momentous events I have been lucky enough to be present at and turn
it into some sort of discourse: The Apalachin gangland convention
in 1957; the introduction of the IBM 1401 computer in the early 1960s;
campus unrest in the spring of 1968; the Robert F. Kennedy funeral
and train to Washington; the 1968 Chicago Democratic convention; the
Three Mile Island nuclear accident in the late 1970s; and — on
a micro-level but still telling — the conversion of this
production mode from phototypesetting to digital publishing in the
course of one grueling 14-day cycle in December, 1989, and getting
an 80-page paper off to the printer and into the readers’ hands on
So I regret not being able to assemble some big thinkers who might
have provided a big picture. But there are a lot of things I do not
regret. Among them:
Not having struck a deal with ambitious entrepreneurs eager to clone
U.S. 1 up and down the east coast in the late 1980s, when it was
that this was a viable journalistic form. Not so fast, I argued then:
It’s viable for me, a publisher working in his own hometown, but I
am not sure it will fly for someone else somewhere else. We are not
in the fast food business.
Not having turned over the editorial direction of this paper to
else. This one is always subject to review, especially at nights like
last night, when the clock turned past 11 and then 12 and then
1 a.m. as I laboriously trimmed photos and captions and stories to
squeeze as many Helping Hands into this issue as possible.
But there are no regrets and the masthead of that December, 1989,
issue provides one explanation: There’s production adviser Larry
who has helped me out since 1965; Craig Terry, who started working
with me in the 1970s and has been the regular U.S. 1 photographer
since the beginning; Stan Kephart, who has designed covers for us
since 1986 or so; and Barbara Fox, who has written for the paper since
Then there is the man who rises at 3 a.m. every Wednesday to truck
the paper from the printer. John Mitchell has been with us since
1987. These are just the people at or pushing 15-year marks with U.S.
1. There is another class right behind them, and I hope each of them
will be here through the coming decade. And they said the ’90s spelled
the end of loyalty.
Finally the readers, who never fail to lift my spirits. We wish you
all a happy New Year, and a great decade, century, and millennium.
Richard K. Rein
December 21, 1999
Wednesday, January 5.
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