UPDATED: Boca Raton News Shut Down

At a staff meeting today, Boca Raton News Publisher informed the newspaper's staff of 24 people that the 54-year-old newspaper was being shut down immediately. Sunday's newspaper will be its last.

The news was first reported by freelance writer and Boca Raton News columnist Jack Furnari on a Sun-Sentinel blog after rumors that it was going to be put on the selling block were reported on Barry Epstein's show and here.    

craigswill.jpg
Swill

The newsroom is being shut down, the offices closed, and the newspaper terminated. The Sun-Sentinel is reporting that some of the Boca News will survive online, with employees working from home. This contradicts Furnari's report, also in the Sun-Sentinel, that all 24 employees had been told they were no longer employed. It seems highly unlikely a website as small as BocaNews.com will sustain many staffers and, from what I can tell, it's revenues, if it has any, come solely from Google ads. Sad indeed. There will surely be more to developments to come. (Furnari, by the way, stands by his post, says the website has almost no revenue, and that the article amounted to "corporate double speak"). 

Remarkably, the Boca News' website has no story about Friday's events or the newspaper's fate. It's lead story Saturday morning ('Boca Tax Rate Unchanged') had been up since early Thursday afternoon.     

The death of the small but historic newspaper, however inevitable it may have seemed, comes as a shock. Swill, backed by a California community news group and some heavy-hitting underwriters from New York, bought the Boca Raton News in 2005 from Neal Heller. In hindsight, the purchase couldn't have come at a worse time. The newspaper became part of the South Florida Media Group, which Swill calls a "hyper-local advertising company."

In addition to the extreme economic problems facing the industry, the Boca News never took hold with an audience under Swill's reign. It fell back into the lapdog "community news" role and never made any splash. It was baldly about delivering advertisements, with news a seeming afterthought. Swill signaled his move away from newspapers recently when SFMG purchased Welcome Wagon, a company that specializes in ads placed in goodie baskets.  

The newspaper wasn't much lately, but it has a heck of a wild past. It was started by two Miami Herald guys, served as a national petrie dish for Knight-Ridder, and was run into the ground in the late 1990s by new owners (the big-spending, high-living Martin brothers). To get a sense of it, I've included a long excerpt after the jump about the newspaper's history from this 2001 feature story. The story very heavily quotes Mike Sallah, a former News reporter who now runs investigations for the Miami Herald.

Well it was a story. Now it seems more like an obit. 

The Boca Raton News was founded in December 1955 by a group of investors led by banker Tom Fleming. The editorial side consisted of husband-and-wife team Robert and Lora Britt.

In 1963 two executives from The Miami Herald purchased the paper and began building the staff. Their first hire was Sandy Wesley, a writer who spent decades at the News but was fired last March. The editorial staff totaled three for about a year, recalls Wesley. "The publisher covered sports and ran the press at times, the editor covered city meetings and police. I put out the women's section and wrote features."

Within a year the News added photo and sports editors and increased its publishing schedule to twice a week. By 1970 the paper was distributed every day except Monday. Around that time the News's owners sold the paper to Knight Newspapers, which at that time also owned The Miami Herald. (Knight merged with Ridder Publications Inc. in 1974.)

Wesley left the News in 1971 for a job writing features at the Palm Beach Post. She returned in 1981, when Knight Ridder began pumping capital into the paper. The media giant, then headquartered in Miami, beefed up the staff and switched from afternoon to morning delivery. Knight Ridder improved the situation, recalls former News reporter Mike Sallah, but was careful not to make the paper too good. "Knight Ridder did [the News] a terrible disservice," says Sallah, now a national-affairs writer for the Block News Alliance, a shared service of the Toledo Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "They built it into a really good daily, but they also stunted its growth. It was in a real position to grow in the '70s and '80s, but they didn't want it to get too big because they wanted the Herald to be big up there."

Nonetheless the News published stories that would have been inconceivable at most small dailies. Sallah says reporters occasionally worked on projects for three months or more -- a rarity today, even at the nation's largest newspapers. When crack cocaine appeared in Palm Beach County in the mid 1980s, Newsreporters went beyond quoting cops and reporting arrests. They hung out for hours at a time in front of a place on SW Ninth Avenue in Delray Beach known as "The Hole," a string of small cottages with iron bars on the windows that served as a drive-thru drug mart. On December 28, 1986, Sallah and fellow reporter Gina Smith filed a story that began on the front page with a photo of an apparent drug deal at The Hole and jumped inside to a two-page spread dominated by a map pinpointing every known crack house in Delray Beach, complete with the address, the owner's name, and a photo of each place.

"We did a lot of ambitious stuff like that," says Sallah, "major stuff, major take-out pieces. We won every award [in the small-newspaper] category in Florida, which just shows how well the paper did."

Sallah wrote a piece in April 1987 that he still recalls as one of the highlights of his career. It was the story of Bob Drummond, a rich Boca developer who in the early '60s had it all -- a fat inheritance, boats, racehorses, a huge estate, even a private helicopter. But in April 1962, two of Drummond's four children were poisoned by an 11-year-old neighbor boy who poured weed killer into a milk bottle and put the bottle in Drummond's refrigerator. Drummond's three-year-old son, Randy, and his nine-year-old daughter, Debbie, drank the milk and went into convulsions.

Drummond and his wife, Gloria, loaded the children into their car and drove them about ten miles north to Bethesda Memorial Hospital in Boynton Beach; no hospital existed in Boca at the time. The children survived the trip, but both soon died of arsenic poisoning.

Convinced their kids would have survived had a hospital been located nearby, the Drummonds began a five-year fundraising campaign to get one built. The Boca Raton Community Hospital opened in June 1967.

Sallah heard about the story and realized no one had ever followed up. With the 25th anniversary of the children's deaths approaching, he tracked down the police and doctors who worked the case; the Drummonds' other two children, Bob Jr. and Robin; and Gloria Drummond. He even located the poisoner, Raymer Cassady, who was then 36 years old, living in Deerfield Beach, and working as a garage-door salesman. (Cassady, who didn't comment for Sallah's story, was charged with "delinquency leading to a death" and court-ordered to attend a Boston school for disturbed children. He completed his sentence at age 16.)

Sallah found Bob Drummond living in his car only a few blocks from the six-bedroom Boca home he had once owned. Drummond never recovered from the death of his children and by 1987 spent his time hanging around in bars and crashing with friends.

"That story totally blew the lid off the town," recalls Sallah. "You are talking about a big tragedy with prominent people. I remember Mrs. Drummond having to go to the hospital after she read it, she was so freaked out."

Such stories enabled News alumni to get jobs at papers like The Miami Herald, the St. Petersburg Times, and the Detroit Free Press. Sallah left in 1989, just in time, he says, to miss the News's ruination. "That godforsaken project -- thank God I was gone."


By the late 1980s, Knight Ridder had its corporate finger in the wind, trying to determine what readers wanted from a newspaper. The company had been criticized by Wall Street for putting too much emphasis on quality journalism and not enough on the bottom line. Daily newspaper readership across the United States had been in steady decline since the mid-'60s, and editors were scrambling to find ways to make their product relevant. They started calling readers "customers" and talked about filling the paper with brief, bite-size, superlocal stories. Public-service journalism came into vogue and so, unfortunately, did focus groups.

Jim Batten, Knight Ridder's CEO at the time, embraced focus groups with the ardor of an alcoholic in AA. Suddenly Knight Ridder was less interested in the historic role of the press as the fourth estate and more interested in plumbing the reader's psyche. Long stories, government coverage, and international news were deemed irritating to readers, and the last thing execs wanted was to lose readers.

In 1989 the News became a lab rat for experiments Knight Ridder thought might lure readers back. KR brass called it the "25/43 Project," so-named for the age demographic they were desperately trying to impress.

Thirty focus groups later, the new News debuted October 11, 1990, looking like a dumbed-down version of USA Today. It was bright, colorful, and easily digested. It featured a strict policy of not continuing stories from the front page. Headlines were big. Editorials stated problems, just as they had before 25/43, but now they also proposed solutions. The business page came with a glossary of financial terms. National and international stories were keyed to maps that helped pinpoint the locations of such datelines as Indianapolis and Moscow. The sports section focused on recreational and participatory events. Weather was described on a full page printed in color -- common now but groundbreaking back then.


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118 comments
Whitny  Swingfield
Whitny Swingfield

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Anonymous

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Jamal Hasan
Jamal Hasan

I remember the time when I moved to Boca Raton, Florida from my native Bangladesh the newspaper sign drew my attention. I used to fantasize working in the editorial department of Boca Raton News. That never happened. I ended up working in its mail room. I remember I talked to Skip Sheffield, whom I admired as a liberal columnist. I am now living in the DC metropolitan area. I stil miss my mailroom days in that South Florida newspaper.

Shari Lynn (Cohen)
Shari Lynn (Cohen)

Nothing has moved me more in the past 22 years than the words posted on this page. You incredible people who used to motivate me and inspire me to become a journalist unfortunately drifted apart even before the paper's demise. I wish more than anything, that I could just hug Wayne Ezell and the AWESOME staff who assisted him in raising the money which, thank God, kept me alive. Skip, I miss you and your inspiration in terms of holding steadfast and being consistent in your behavior at the paper. You were so gentle yet I wouldn't dare contradict you because of what I know you would never say...just look at a me and smile, maybe nod your head when I couldn't see. But then, I was young when I interned at the paper (17 years old back in 1988). That same wise look from Skip seemed to gaze at me even the last time I saw him at the Boca News close to a year ago. I know, Skip, that you will be successful at whatever you choose to do. That idea to write a book will be a springboard to even greater things. The book I wrote (Once A Vegetable, Now A Ham) describes how I changed career paths. Number one, I could never keep up with you fast moving and quick minded journalists, considering my current disabilities. Number two, if I had not earned my Masters Degree and gone on to become a licensed psychotherapist (you know how they say you kind of become like those who surround you, and I was surrounded by a million people telling me that my perception of reality wasn't what it should be, whatever that was) anyway, if I hadn't gone on to become a therapist, I wouldn't be the Clinical Supervisor that I am today. Education has some benefits. If you can't keep up with the big guys, just learn a little more and then you can treat them. Ya, right. Sometimes when you're in the doctor's office you wonder who's the patient. The crazy one isn't always wearing a gown. So am I jealous of you guys who go out there and just grab those stories or am I happy to be where I am? Maybe both.

Mike Layton
Mike Layton

i am saddened to learn that the News had closed. I worked in the pressroom in the late 1970s. I have to say that in my 30+ years in the printing industry the people at the Boca News were the best that I have ever been associated with. Anyone remember the party at the Women's Club in Delray? It was conceived and spearheaded by Skip not long after he went into editorial and started writing for the paper. Of course, The Sheffeild Bros. were the headline act!Kudos to Mr. Sheffield for your tribute to Jack Hutton. One morning after working 3rd shift he took a ramdom snap of Tom J. and myself standing on the jetty at the inlet. I still have a copy of the A section with our photo on pg 1. Best of luck to any and all from the News. Maybe Skip can organize a reunion bash???

Tony Benjamin
Tony Benjamin

Reading back over all the comments again, this is probably the best obituary to a newspaper ever. And the saddest. tb

Graham Tomory
Graham Tomory

That's a great piece, usually good to learn much more about aviation.

Walt Shebet
Walt Shebet

Have good friends to this day from the BN, the majority being from the mailroom and circulation. One name mentioned that I feel was one of your greatest was John Golden, the circulation manager. What a nice person to have as one of your first bosses! I was hired as the van driver, to drop off bundles of papers to the kids all over town. Nick was the mailroom manager, who eventually gave way to Warren. What a fascinating cast of characters went thru those doors...Bill Rathmanner, Jeff Kemp, Tom Jones, John Ingalls, Cory Vincent, Dan Bell, Mike Lanigan, Mike Murray, and many others contributed to some eventful working conditions to get the Broward Times out on Tuesday nights! One of my few return visits in employment, went back to work there from 73-76. I remember Mr. Dawson, Mr. Getz, Mr. Hutton and Skip...don't forget a chapter on the mailroom, you remember, you once were one of the inmates wreaking havoc in the back!

Ronda Robinson
Ronda Robinson

Well, I hate to admit it was thanks to Facebook that I just found out about the end of the Boca News. Very sad.

I started as the business reporter there in 1980, working with Julia Fitzpatrick, and then covered education and general features. The early '80s were wonderful years. And yes, the Boca News was a great training ground for young journalists. I'd forgotten about the colorful cast of characters, including Jack Hutton (who also called me "Sis"). And remember fellow photog Don Carson?

Friends from those days were so special. Vic Bienstock, a retired foreign correspondent who was a columnist for the News, and his wife, Becky, "adopted" me after we met in the newsroom. We shared many meals at The Bridge and other favorite haunts of theirs.

So many memories. What an honor to have been part of the patchwork quilt. Skip, please do write that book.

Ronda RobinsonAtlanta, GA

Marylyn Thomann
Marylyn Thomann

Great post, newspaper will have to change and get with the online media revilution or die. It will be a difficult transition for some but an opportunity for othere.

Tony Benjamin
Tony Benjamin

After all this:Nothing is forgotten.Nothing is ever forgotten ...Tony Benjamin,Loveland, CO

Nevin Soleson
Nevin Soleson

Good blog, You make impressive points in a concise and pertinent fashion, I will read more of your work, thank you for your time.

Crazy Horse
Crazy Horse

hat has Jon Dahlberg been up to these days?

Jean Martinez
Jean Martinez

This makes me remember something funny that my grandmother pretty much always said...Then it's definitely inappropriate at this time...

Chris Fraser
Chris Fraser

Wow... I guess I'm late to the funeral... Skip, sorry to see that this ended a long running career... I worked for "The News" back in the early 70's... I took over the beach route from my friend Alan after we graduated from Boca High... For beach lovers is was the perfect job... I delivered all or most of the papers, bundles and singles, from Camino Real to Atlantic Ave on A1A... Then a bundle to the newsstand on the Atlantic, and a bundle to Bethesda Hospital... And working in the back helping with stuffing and bundling papers coming off the press... Nick, Dave, Bob O, Philip, and many others that I went to school with... Thanks for the memories...

Paradise Lost
Paradise Lost

Good riddens to the Boca Snooze! They only wrote articles that favored their advertisers and financial supporters which nobody would consider journalism. Advertisers were developers and the city, who in spite of the limited circulation continued to use the Boca News for their public notices...to make sure that Dale King always wrote favorable stories about city leaders. This was another form of Pay-to-Play that was not supportive of residents and probably another reason why they are out of business.

Skip Sheffield
Skip Sheffield

Hi Sandy,

I'm not hiding. You can reach me at sshef5@aol,com or a new address: sshef47@gmail.com. My home number (of the last 35 years) is 561-395-6403.I just learned today John Johnston has left the organization, meaning there is no one to run the alleged online edition.Hmm, my sense is (as Wayne Ezell used to say), this ain't over yet.

Skip

SANDY MANNING
SANDY MANNING

SO, SKIP...WHEN ARE YOU STARTING THAT BOOK...ONE ABOUT THE NEWS WOULD BE GOOD OR MY LIFE AND TIMES AT THE NEWS!!!!!!BOB WILL BE AVAILABLE TO DELIVER IT...KLUNKER PROVIDED!I DO MISS THE NEWS AND SOCIETY...NO GOSSIP TO READ.RON SMITH LIVES IN FORT MYERS...WILL TRY TO GET A HOLD OF HIM..I'M SURE HE WOULD ADD HIS 2 CENTS WORTHKEEP IN TOUCHBOB AND SANDY

Tony Benjamin
Tony Benjamin

Hey Dennis, Glad you chimed in. It reminded me of how much you contributed to our merry band of misfits. And do, indeed, remember, your "Loser" dieting column. It carried a lot of heft, for sure. And the Dragon Lady. (i seem to recall she sported a big hat in her logo photo). Thinking back, all these posts really only scratch the surface of our collective memory. I know we can't go home again, exactly. But we sure all remember where it is. And how it was. Next time you talk to Max, tell him "hey" from me. Hope all is well, Tony Benjamin, Loveland, CO

dennis patterson
dennis patterson

Wow. What a meander into the past this has been. Max called me yesterday to tell me about the paper folding and the grand history tour in the comments. I think of the time I spent in Boca every now and then with immense fondness. Tony -- I've got the framed printing plate from the day Nixon quit (with your dahlberg story) hanging on the wall at my house. And yes, Greg, there are still plenty of jumbo shrimp left -- but not many places to practice decent journalism. I kicked around at newspapers, and eventually The Associated Press, doing everything from sports to politics. But only at the Boca News did I get to write a diet column, edit the "dragon lady" travel columnist's copy and share a duplex unit with the liver mush prince. Great times, great journalism. Thanks for the reunion.patterson

Skip Sheffield
Skip Sheffield

Cindy,

I'd like to take you up on that publishing hookup thing. I know you've published a few; me too, but never on my own. Although I am job hunting I would welcome a long-term project. I think it could be worthwhile.Call me at 561-395-6403 or e-mail me at sshef5@aol.com or sshef47@gmail.com.

cheers,

Skip

CT
CT

Wow, I just found -- and read every word of -- this little online memorial, and saw lots of names I knew and quite a few I heard of but didn't have the opportunity to meet during my time at the Boca Raton News. I loved my six or so years there -- and a few years of on-and-off stringing. When I was hired there, I remember being welcomed by someone who told me I was then working for the "Washington Post of small newspapers." How true it was. I got my start in the News' sports department. I started out working there part-time while working full-time as a physical education teacher, hired by ME John Barry and sports editor Tommy Carnes. Over the years I was there, I worked with some incredibly talented people; a few of them still are my dear friends. I also had the good fortunte to meet the man I married there. Among those dear, talented sports department folks: Diane Horstman Tomasik, Vin Mannix, Nels Jensen, David Foster, Clifton Brown, Concepcion Ledezma, Rick Mewhirter and Ken Sorensen. Some of the non-sports-department stars of the paper I remember fondly are artist Kevin O'Neil, photogs John Zich, Tracey Trumbull, Jerry Lower, Phil Skinner, and yes, Jack Hutton. Then the scribes and editors: John-Thor Dahlberg, Michael Sallah, Stephanie Murphy, Skip Sheffield, Dorothy Sutton, Jill Cassidy, Carolyn Martin, Sandy Wesley, Nancy Miller, Chris Ledbetter, Rick Thomas and Wayne Ezell and ohmigosh, the list goes on and on and on... Skip, I'd be happy to help with you book and have just the publisher for you. I just hope Boca Raton gets a REAL newspaper again someday. And if it does, I'd love to drop what I'm doing now and be a part of it again.

Nan (Parsons) Connolly
Nan (Parsons) Connolly

David - your story about the Dan Quayle scoop is remarkable, and new to me. Thanks for sharing, it is great to hear your calm and intelligent voice again. Do you still have that "Christmas" tie?Geez, all these great people. Wish we could all be under one roof for an evening, to hear the rest of the stories we all have. Maybe move some over to BRN site on FB?Please add your blog and twitter addresses to your posts, so we can reconnect if desired. Kriz, I am talking to you, and others. Speak up, your old friends miss you.Nan# jprofnan

Tony Benjamin
Tony Benjamin

As the points dwindle: As usual, Greg Dawson got me thinking. His great line that the Boca News staff of the '70s couldn't get past security in corporate newspapering today kept rattling around. True enough. But the larger thing -- the sadder thing -- is this. Few of us now (maybe not any of us) could or would be hired by the Boca Raton News. Or what's left of it. Or most any other publication posing as a newspaper. Economics played a large role, but it's more than that. It's about a collective institution losing its compass and sense of obligation. Tony Benjamin, Loveland, CO

Tony Benjamin
Tony Benjamin

The ad can't be real, can it? Be the king of Boca? Get invited to all the social events? Holy crap. All the reasons to buy a newspaper. Right? Who, exactly, is this Swill guy? Tony B.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Re the previous post, quoted from the linked ad:

"Be the King of Boca"?! Is that how Swill fashioned himself?!

In a nutshell, "yes".

Tony Benjamin
Tony Benjamin

Dear Anonymous, The last time I had contact with Bob was in Wichita. He was a regular columnist. What a great writer and reporter. One of the best, ever. He did lots of good work in Boca, and was still hard at it last I knew. One thing I learned by watching early on to Bob and others is that a key to newspapering is trust. And asking the right questions. People you're interviewing, most often, open up to that. Bob seemed shy; but his knack of getting close to his subject always showed up in what he wrote. The finished, polished words. Bob's style -- the way he comes across -- always reminds me of Bob Woodward. There's the hesitation in the questions, the seeming fumble or two and then the connection. The SCUD missle to the heart of the matter. And a keen intellect at work. Another terrific talent that shared it at the Boca News in the '70s. No, not still in contact. But in a way, very much. Tony Benjamin Loveland CO

Frank B.
Frank B.

I don't recall who the BN's "Local Insider" was....anyone care to fess' up?....but I was always happy to be able to pass along oddball tidbits when I came across them and, boy howdy!, this town was rife with material! Check out this link for one of the better ones. It's from a scanned copy of the '92 BN article:

http://news.google.com/newspap...

John Singh
John Singh

It may have been a little paper. It may have been an "experiment."

And though my stint in professional journalism lasted only a bit more than three years, I worked at five newspapers (hey, I was on training programs ... I didn't get sacked!). I can absolutely say that from 1990-1992, I had the best editors, knew the best reporters, and had the most fun of my short life in newspaper journalism. My editors taught me reporting and writing tips that have stayed with me.

Sometimes people took notice: Some of my columns got picked up by the K-R wire and appeared in the Washington Post, on the wire, in other bigger newspapers. (Better? Hm.) The investigative efforts were legitimate. The desire to cover the community and the decisions of the city, county, police and courts on the lives of readers was legitimate and meaningful.

It may go down as a simple "experiment," but the "25/43 Project" foresaw many issues long before the newspaper industry in general failed miserably in its efforts to address them. We had a great staff, and I had a fantastic time at The News, as it was known. In many ways, despite my subsequent career in the entertainment industry and the adventures I've had since '92, it was the best time of my life. I wouldn't trade it for the world, and am eternally grateful to my editors and fellow reporters for the fantastic jobs they did.

A little part of me died, truly, upon hearing the news that The News is now gone forever. Boca's gonna be worse for the decision, as will journalism in general. Small newspapers are pretty much the only hope to keep true journalism alive. But it stands little chance.

ellie lingner
ellie lingner

Hey All!Whoever called it a virtual reunion was spot on. Bittersweet.My first contact with BN was as an "older" student at PBCC, formerly known as Peanut Butter and Jelly College (PBJC...get it?). I had no clue that I would become a "real" journalist upon graduation from FAU, but that was still years away. For my last class, Feminist Psychology, I decided to write a weekly article for the BN. Talk about chutzpah! I strode bravely into Max Veale's office with some sample pieces. He read them and quite seriously told me to send them as letters to the editor, which I did. He was lovely about it and must have been hysterical when I left. Later, when I worked for him, he was just as lovely.Story for Skip's book...When the tv show 90210 became the rage, John Singh, Carl Herzog and I went into business manufacturing and selling (a few) T-shirts that bore the zip code 33432 in pink. Of course we tried to do it surreptiously, but nothing escapes notice in a news room. It's amazing that we weren't sacked. None of us got rich from either newspapers or that little gig.I worked in features and wrote columns on everything from gossip (coined the phrase...Soooooo Boca) to shopping, which I hate to this day. I always tried to find an unusual angle and one of the best was the generational changes in underwear. Think about it.I finally told Wayne Ezell that if I had to walk into Town Center one more time, I would throw up. What did he care? To this day I do not enter Town Center, despite the fact that I live less than a mile away.Loved reading all you had to say and now that I am retired from newspapering and it seems to be retiring completely, I really miss it.ellie lingnerstill Boca Raton

David Hertz
David Hertz

Steven,

So glad you and Debbie are doing well and flossing in private!

This is an enjoyable virtual reunion. It's been a thrill to read comments from colleagues of the past. Thanks to Tracey Trumbull for pointing out the discussion.

I too would like to defend the 25/43 project. Those involved helped bring forward an innovative spirit and thinking that spurred changes in our industry. If only those changes had come more quickly and been more radical.

I enjoyed my five years at the BRN, and worked with too many talented journalists to mention, for fear of leaving some out. Made some lifelong friends as well.

As for anecdotes worthy of a book, here is one for consideration.

In an effort to leverage all its properties, Knight Ridder put out a call for reporting help to cover the GOP convention in New Orleans. Boca volunteerd its political/city hall reporter, who would work from....Boca.

In 1988, there was no Internet or email. Editors coordinated the political reporting effort out of Washington, working the phone to get the latest information. During the August convention, one of the hottest questions was who would be George H. W. Bush's running mate. Boca was filled with GOP sources, of course, and several said they would call me from New Orleans if they got a whisper of a name. Finally, a source called from New Orleans with a name out of left field. I asked the source to repeat the name, and then immediately called the Wash Bureau.

"It's Dan Quayle, a senator from Indiana," I said.

The editor was nice. After all, this was a young reporter from Boca calling. "Are you sure? That's not a name we're hearing, but we'll check it out."

Within the hour, other major news organizations were reporting that Dan Quayle would be the senior Bush's running mate.

The Washington Bureau never called back.

My best to all.

David HertzAkron, Ohio

Stephanie Murphy
Stephanie Murphy

Note to Steve Abrams:

Of course, Debbie is in the clear. She was not the doorway flosser mentioned in my previous post. That former mayor's wife, if still alive, is well up in years. She might not remember the event, or even to floss these days.It didn't make the papers at the time, so maybe it's best left alone :)

Anonymous
Anonymous

The BN lost credibility years ago but Swill made it worse beyond belief. I, for one, am happy to see the BN finally being put to bed. // RIP, BN....We knew ya' back when it counted.

Keith Averill
Keith Averill

I started at the Boca News at 17 while attending Boca High, working in the mailroom for Warren Guess. Delivered bundles to the carriers in my VW van by day, and a short stint in circulation with Don Burgess delivering complaints (missed newspapers) in the evening. Then it was on to the camera room working for Jerry Reifenberg and then Skip Sheffield, while also going to BCC and FAU. Remember our fearless leader John Cornett? Uh, fellas... Another leader I admired was editor and neighbor Jim Driscoll (I too dated daughter Amy for a short time who went on the the Miami Herald). Although journalism fascinated me, I went the other way to commercial offset printing from 1981 to 2000. However, the computer and internet squeezed me out of the printing business much the way it has squeezed newspapers out of our hands. I miss catching up on the news without having to log on or turn on the tube. But as George Benson sang, Everything Must Change. Made a lot of good friends and good memories though, and still stay in touch with as many as I can. I was fortunate enough to have my motorcycling and music buddy Skip Sheffield and the Sheffield Brothers stay the weekend here in Asheville, NC a few months back, and they even let me jam along with them. They played at my wedding 21 years ago at Holiday Inn Bounty. In the infamous words of Bob Hope, Thanks for the memories. Good night Boca Raton News.

College Singapore
College Singapore

A teacher that doesn�t take himself too seriously, and has a good sense of humor, is usually a fun class to attend, regardless of the subject matter.

Fred Winthrop
Fred Winthrop

I had a job at the Boca News during my senior year at Boca High School circa '81-'82 selling subscriptions over the phone after the dinner hour. Back then.....people who didn't receive delivery tended to be receptive and would sign-up with no "hard-sell" whatsoever. I worked for Bill Booth.

B. Yoki
B. Yoki

I read through all the comments and found the ones from the "old-timers" to be the most poignant. I think the post from the former Mayor was self-serving to say the absolute least. He always put on a good "game face" but I sensed he was an ass from the get-go. When Swill bought the BN......even from the 'look' of the guy, being how he looked so clueless.....was when the parody went full steam ahead. I was a fan of the BN for ages....but the fact that it was so slowly pile-driven into the dirt is what makes me so angry about its demise and mis-use. The BN should have been taken off life-support years ago.

Ferenc McVie
Ferenc McVie

To former mayor STEVEN ABRAMS: Give us all a break with your continued nonsense. After Swill took over, the BN became a mouthpiece for you and the Chamber and you know this as well as anyone. I still remember, early on, when you postured yourself as being more concerned about the city rather than for yourself. I got a whiff of the REAL Steve Abrams when, one evening, I was volunteering on a city board and parked my car near your assigned space (the proximate spaces were filled, being how other volunteers had taken them up). You came to work after hours for some reason and became livid that I didn't relinquish my space for you while hollering that it was "yours". And this was BEFORE you became "mayor". What a friggin' tool you were. Sheesh.

D.A. Boers
D.A. Boers

Correction and apologies....I meant to say it declined AFTER Knight-Ridder sold the paper. Oops.

Tony Benjamin
Tony Benjamin

Hey Greg, Late to the wake, but with a fine addition to the memory log/jog. The newsroom cast in our days there was, well, interesting for sure. But we had a lot of material to work with. Like the time Tom -- fulfilling his editor duties -- went to a party at Wes and Dorothy Wilken's house. Wes saved lots of injured wildlife. It's how he became dubbed "Birdman of Boca Raton" by reporter Mike Couture. (if you wrote a story that mentioned Wes and didn't call him Birdman, etc. Mike would start shouting that you "didn't give him his due"). Wes also once organized a crazy duck roundup that produced much hilarity. Anyhow, Tom goes into the bathroom. The shower curtain starts shaking, Tom pulls it back and finds himself eye-to-eye with a very large heron standing in the bathtub. Great story about Virginia. It was a time, for sure ... Best, Tony Benjamin, Loveland, CO

Sshef47
Sshef47

Dear Shari,

I am re-reading this blog for the first time in at least a year. Thanks for the kind remarks. I will never forget the night of your fateful car crash, you were supposed to accompany me to some show in Miami Beach. When you didn't know, I chalked it up to youth and went on by myself. The next day I heard the news and my heart sank. I felt in some way guilty. If you hadn't been driving to meet me, maybe that fateful wreck would have never happened.So all these years later I unload this. I have three beautiful daughters whom I love more than life itself. I am so grateful that with courage and persistence you put your life back together. You have far exceeded my humble aspirations.

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