Who are we?
We are newspaperpeople. The Bradley Report staff includes me, Michael
Bradley, as the editor and publisher, together with William
F. Finucane, my longtime friend and professional associate, who
serves The Bradley Report primarily as a columnist, but sometimes as a reporter
and editorial writer, and Marcia Huyette, an extraordinarily talented cartoonist
and graphic artist who is also an accomplished newspaper and magazine production
manager. Ms. Huyette has, over the decades, worked with both Bill and myself in
various newspaper operations. Our personal histories are available on another
All of us have been working newspaperpeople throughout our professional
careers. And in our careers we have seen vast change in the newspaper industry.
We are not that old – at least we don’t think we are ancient; but among us we
have experience with hot lead and linotype machines in the composing shop and
Royal and Underwood typewriters on the editorial desks.
We have witnessed the transformation from hot type, where lead was actually
melted and turned into slugs that when cooled contained words, to cold type,
where Compugraphic and similar ‘modern’ equipment systems moved the written word
through a photographic process where it could be "pasted-up" on page dummies
rather than "cast in stone" on a lead tablet.
And we also saw electric typewriters replace the old manual Royals and
Underwood’s, which while certainly more clunky, could still be used when there
was a power outage, and where old-line reporters could hammer out stories at 60
to 100 plus words per minute (wpm) in a cacophony that would do more than
justice to the classic movie, The Front Page. But in those days it was still
necessary for a compositor to retype what the reporter had written, being
careful of course to follow the editor’s editing, which often involved
scribbled comments and changes indicated by arrows (or carrots, as they were
called), and the corrections were by no means definitive in terms of accurately
spelled alterations to the original copy, but provided changes which usually
made the copy more readable and, perhaps too often, more easily palatable and
less challenging to the reader.
All of us working in the press then lived through, and of course accommodated
the changeover to computerized printing, which eliminated the need for a series
of compositors and has at this point largely eliminated the many ‘paste-up’
personnel by producing camera-ready pages directly. Now the process can move
entire newspapers to the printing press through electronic disc, assuring that
the current production staff is very computer literate, if nothing else.
There are few electric typewriters left, and those that remain are viewed by
today’s journalists as relics that are only one small step ahead of the old
manual style machine now found in museums. This is understandable since using a
computer offers the capability of instant corrections without marking up the
paper, and the computer is simultaneously a source of research and up to the
minute information. And of course the changes continue.
In fact, if it weren’t for those changes, this type of publication
wouldn’t be possible. And, in our view, the electronic window to the world
that the Internet provides is a wonderful reversal of fortune for all
Today there is a common mantra in the print press, and with infinite
variations it goes like this: "We’re losing circulation because people
aren’t reading anymore…"
Of course why this is the case is no secret to experienced reporters and
editors. Everyone in the industry knows that editorial is at the back of the
publishing bus, with the exception of the dozen or so ‘national’ newspapers.
And even there, much less is said than could be said. But in the rest of the
press, both dailies and weeklies, the facts are simple: the editorial staff
comes in dead last in the budgeting process.
The same publishers who have a staff of ten ad reps will think nothing of
running an edit department with two or three people, and maybe a couple of
part-timers, all being paid below professional standards. Then they will say,
‘We don’t know why we’re losing circulation.’ Maybe, possibly, it might
be because they provide their local audience, their readers, with a newspaper
that is a five-minute read. Bless the calendar items, school announcements and
the obits, because otherwise there isn’t much to read - or make it worthwhile
to pick up the local paper - even though people who live in a given area know
that there is plenty of news and controversy. And of course the good reporters
and editors know it too, but most often they can’t do anything about it unless
it breaks into view in such a dramatic manner that it must be covered.
But now we have the Internet. This electronic window offers us the
possibility to do just exactly what we have always wished to do in our
professional hearts; that is, report what we observe and understand to our
fellow citizens in the most direct manner possible.
Journalists are, after all, information craftsmen whose tools are the
structures of language, which of course includes more than simply knowing the
definition of words, although word files are among the basic equipment. To do
the job correctly - by using training, experience, and natural communication
skills – we can hope to provide the best of journalism to everyone around us.
Journalism is not objective, but interpretative; it is nothing more than the
passing on of information developed and understood by one human to another, with
only one defining codicil; journalists are charged with seeking the most
comprehensive view of a given subject at a specific point in time, and recording
that information with the least amount of personal prejudice while striving to
understand and reveal its complexities..
But we are all human, and we have prejudices, known and unknown even to
ourselves, so anyone listening to or reading the words of a journalist must
gauge what is told to him or her the same exact way they would judge information
provided by a trusted friend. In other words, all of the reader’s intelligence
must also be brought to bear to judge what is said. If a good friend tells us
something unusual or unexpected, or puts a different twist on an already
accepted event, we bring to bear our critical thinking. We must also do this
with any journalistic report.
Solid journalism will withstand the scrutiny, and in fact welcomes it! If
there is something weak or unsupportable in what we have understood and
conveyed, yet because of varying circumstances we have failed to perceive it, we
should and must welcome the corrective insight, and we must act upon it.
If, however, we find that the initial information stands the test of critical
review, we must also be willing to stand up and state that fact! And we must be
willing to support the information despite attacks from those who would stand to
benefit from the denigration of the facts. This is not easy.
Anyone in journalism who pontificates themselves or their enterprise as an
oracle of truth is by definition fooling everyone, probably including themselves
and their egos. But often, in our view too often, there are forces that would
prefer certain subjects to either be sublimated or if discussed at all that they
are done so in a controlled and maneuvered manner, usually to meet someone
else’s unstated agenda.
Sometimes the criteria is the ‘public good,’ and sometimes it is a
threat, emphatic or implied, that if something is printed it will result in
ramifications to the writer and the publisher, and sometimes it is
‘security’ oriented. In all events it is the same; that is, a catchall
designed to prevent the communication of information from one American to a
group of other Americans. To the journalist, the final criteria is always the
same; i.e., is the information able to be substantiated in a reasonable manner,
is it fair and balanced as much as possible under the given circumstances and
the exigencies of the story, and does the story impact enough people that it
should be told.
These are the professional guidelines we will strive to uphold as we seek to
tell stories as we find them, on virtually any and all subjects, whether local,
regional or national. We will also comment upon issues, separately in our
editorial and column formats, and we will encourage your comments on all of our
We hope you will enjoy The Bradley Report.