First wanted to become a newspaperman at age 10 when I sold my first story and photographs to The Farmville Herald in Prince Edward County, Virginia.

Never wanted to be anything else. When the family moved to Floyd County in 1962, took my clips to Pete Hallman, then owner and editor of The Floyd Press, and he hired me on the spot. With his help, landed a job with The Roanoke Times three years later, becoming the paper’s youngest full-time reporter at 18.

Always considered the profession to be “newspaperman,” not “journalist.” “A journalist,” legendary reporter H.L. Mencken once said, “is an unemployed newspaperman.”

If an unemployed newspaperman (or woman) is a journalist then there are a lot more journalists than newspaper people out there nowadays. Five spend their last days on the job for The Roanoke Times, joining dozens of others forced out at various newspapers owned by Landmark Communications.

Newspapers, we are told, are passe and those who produce those daily digests of history are a dying breed.

It’s possible that some of us could outlive the newspaper profession.


Somehow, taking an iPad to read in the bathroom just isn’t the same.