A new year marks a century of news
by Matt Shinall
Jan 05, 2011 | 2518 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Milton Fleetwood
Milton Fleetwood
One hundred years ago, William Howard Taft took the office of president just as Ronald Reagan was born. That same year, The Tribune Publishing Company was formed in Cartersville producing The Bartow Tribune.

Tuesday's issue of The Herald Tribune bears the distinction as Vol. 100, No. 1 marking a century of local community news. The Herald Tribune is now a free weekly production of The Daily Tribune News; The Bartow Tribune -- also a weekly -- began in 1910 at the rate of $1 per annual subscription.

Bartow County, and before that Cass County, has an extensive history in news going back as far as 1840 with the Georgia Pioneer, according to Bartow County Genweb. The transcripts, however, are not available for the first years of The Bartow Tribune publication. The earliest microfilm on file with the Etowah Valley Historical Society dates to Jan. 1, 1914, in which the top news of the week was the passing of J.C. Wofford, a former mayor and councilman of Cartersville.

With the initial publication dates yet unknown, the celebration of 100 years comes at the outset of a new year. On this day 100 years ago, The Cartersville News -- the news source of the day -- reported on local deaths and marriages along with a colorful story of Bartow's "faithful and efficient" sheriff, Charlie Smith, as he arrested multiple railroad workers at the "L and N rail yards" for working on the Sabbath.

Milton Fleetwood, a well-known figure of local prominence, came to Cartersville in the '20s when he went to work for The Tribune Publishing Company. After serving as general manager, Fleetwood eventually purchased the newspaper beginning daily publication in 1946.

Before that time, in 1929 The Bartow Herald was began by W. R. Friar as a source of competition for The Tribune. After Friar's passing, The Herald was purchased and merged with The Tribune, creating The Herald Tribune.

Fleetwood's granddaughter, Betty Jane Tilley, remembers his hard work and the competition that thrived between the two weekly publications. She also remembers his penchant for straight talk and his column, Report to the People, written weekly then daily after the switch.

"He got out on a limb when it wasn't the most popular thing to do. He stood by his reporting, that it was for the people." Tilley said, adding that he only had a sixth grade education. "He went to work to support his family and became interested in newspapers. He was the photographer and had to fix the press when it was down ... sold advertisements ... He did it all."

The nature of Fleetwood's work led to a lawsuit taken to the U.S. Supreme Court on the subject of crime scene photographs after a 1955 homicide. Ruling in the paper's favor, the case was influential and is still studied within journalism.

Family Living Editor Elizabeth Cochran was hired by Fleetwood 59 years ago and continues to work daily at the paper he helped to build. Starting work in 1952 as a teletype setter, Cochran has seen a lot of change in the industry and the community.

"They had just gotten the new teletype setter in -- nobody had ever operated it before, didn't know anything about it and they hired me two weeks out of high school, I was 17 years old when I went to the paper to do the teletype setter. Since then I've done everything, I've done bookkeeping, circulation, office work, proofreading -- the whole bit," Cochran said.

A Remington typewriter remains in her office adjacent to the Macintosh she now uses to digitally lay out pages and type copy.

"This has been my breadwinner -- and my son, who is living now, is 52 and in his lifetime I've never worked anywhere except this newspaper. So it's really meant a lot to us as far as providing a home and food on the table," she said.

Changes in technology have not only advanced within newspapers but beyond it as well -- books, paper money, newspapers and magazines are all affected as the digital culture saturates America. Tilley remembered her childhood fondly as she spoke of a recent Facebook conversation she had with an old friend about the past.

"I still have a lot of good and fond memories of the newspaper business from my growing up time. It's good to see that it's still of interest to Bartow Countians." Tilley said. "We hear so much news so quickly it amazes me that there is still an urge to see it in print. If we don't support our medias, one day we won't have it to support."