Centennial is historic opportunity
Just like the plumber, whose kitchen faucet at home continues to leak while he repairs his customers’ leaks, we are guilty of failing to record our own history as we record the history of this community on a weekly basis.
As we approach the city’s centennial celebration and work to gather the histories of the businesses, organizations, the schools, churches, governmental entities and families to be recorded in a keepsake edition of the South Jetty, I realize – again – that we have been remiss in recording the history of our newspaper.
I did realize about 10 years ago, as the technology began to change at an even more dramatic pace than it had in the previous 20 years, that I needed to make notes.
Now I keep a log, recording milestones and turning points: The year we took the pages of the paper to, and brought the printed product back from, the printer in Port Lavaca by boat because the roads were flooded; the conversion to full process color and transmitting pages to our printer via the Internet in 2004, placing our Visitors’ Guides online for the first time in 2007, posting our first video online in 2008, our first online reader poll in 2009, the opening of a Twitter account the same year.
I did not record, although I remember quite well, when we set our typewriters aside and began “desktop publishing” on Mac Classic computers in the mid or late 1980s.
How newspapers are produced has changed more in the past 30 years than in the previous 200 years. It’s enough to make your head spin.
My parents, newspaper publishers who retired in 1976, would be lost if they were alive and walked into a newspaper office today. They would know how to gather information and write a news story, and they could sell an ad, but they wouldn’t know how to begin to produce either, and they wouldn’t know how to take or process a photo.
I remember trying to explain the concept of a fax machine to my father. Plugging in a cord was about as technical as he ever got, so a fax was voo-doo to him. He did, however, eventually use a computer to write his column. One of my brothers would put it on a floppy disc (Remember those?) and bring it to me.
These are changes that not only affect our newspaper, but as a result affect the community. They are part of the fabric of the history of this community and, in a broader sense, society as a whole.
The centennial provides an occasion for all of us to reflect on ourselves, our businesses, our families, the organizations and churches that help make this community be a better place to live. All should have their histories recorded.
Our city’s centennial offers an opportunity for many of us to learn how we came to be the community we are today – 100 years after Tarpon, Texas, became Port Aransas, Texas.
Mary Henkel Judson is editor and copublisher of the South Jetty. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, (361) 749-5131 or P.O. Box 1117, Port Aransas, TX 78373.