Posted on Mon. Jul. 07, 2008 - 06:00 am EDT

A COLUMN BY KERRY HUBARTT

Proud to serve our city

My first day as a sportswriter for The News-Sentinel was June 15, 1971. My first assignment was to write a story about golfing legend Byron Nelson, who was one of the celebrities at the Mad Anthonys Hoosier Celebrities Golf Tournament.

My boss was Ben Tenney, who had been the sports editor for 40 years. Ernie Williams had been the editor since 1966. And Helene Foellinger had been the publisher since 1936.

As a rookie reporter, I started out using a typewriter and sending my stories to the “composing room” through a pneumatic tube that delivered the edited copy to a Linotype operator, who converted words from ink on paper to hot metal type.

We’ve come a long way. Typewriters are museum pieces. And now computer and Internet technology reign in ways we could only imagine in the 1970s.

And yet my 37-year tenure at The News-Sentinel is a mere speck in the history of the place where I have grown to learn and love the newspaper business.

The News-Sentinel has served the Fort Wayne area for 175 years, the oldest continuously operating business in Allen County. Today we begin our 176th year with this special section commemorating our long and storied (literally) history.

The first copy of The Fort Wayne Sentinel was printed July 6, 1833. While The Sentinel was the first newspaper in this frontier town, Fort Wayne grew so rapidly that several other publications sprang up in the following decades. By the end of the century, the city was served by six daily newspapers. Besides The Sentinel were The News, The Gazette, The Journal and two German-language newspapers. On Jan. 1, 1918, The News and The Sentinel merged to become the paper we are today.

Inside this special section you’ll find a more detailed history of The News-Sentinel, along with a profile of Foellinger, who was an influential figure in the community for decades during the 20th century. We’ll also tell you about other people who contributed to this enterprise over the years, including some of our longtime subscribers of 60-plus years.

Thanks for participating in our long run as “your good evening newspaper” and for letting us serve you through the years.

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