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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Calendar > Arts and Culture

Newspaper exhibit draws industry workers

Conversation on future of newspapers ensues

By Matt Shortall - staff writer

By: Matt Shortall | Democrat
Barbara Gref and Van Morrow, co-founders of the Towne Crier, which ran from the late 1990s until the mid 2000s - inspect some of their old issues.
HURLEYVILLE — “Preserving the Past,” a special two-day only exhibit debuted at the Sullivan County Museum this past weekend.
It covered more than a century and a half of Sullivan County history that would otherwise be forgotten.
Several people attended the “reunion” on Saturday, including former newspaper employees.
Ed Kraus from Narrowsburg was a linotype operator who worked at the Sullivan County Democrat in the 1960s.
Madeline Conway worked for the Republican Watchman, the Evening News, the Liberty News and the Bulletin Sentinel. “It was a very wonderful experience,” said Conway.
“I met a lot of people in Sullivan County. I made some mistakes, but learned a lot.”
Susan Schock, whose father, Alvin Benton, was one of the publishers of The Republican Watchman, talked about growing up around the newspaper industry. Schock and her husband Robert now live in California, but come back to spend the summers in Sullivan County.
Barbara Gref and Van Morrow, co-founders of the Towne Crier, which ran from the late 1990s, until the mid- 2000s, brought some award-winning newspapers of their own to put on display.
“It's amazing to come here and think about how incredible this local industry once was,” said Gref. “Newspapers are an endangered species in Sullivan County now.”
Since selling the Towne Crier, Gref started a non-profit called the “Community Reporting Alliance,” which focuses on strengthening local news reporting.
Gref also worked to establish Manor Ink, a student-run newspaper published out of the Livingston Manor Library, as a way to get young people involved in local news. “It was a great experience for them,” said Gref. “They became intimately involved in their own communities through this publication.”
Echoing that sentiment, Sullivan County Historical Society member Fred Fries worried what future historians would have to work from if social media completely replaced newspapers.
“The history of Sullivan County is an endangered species also without the local newspapers,” said Fries, explaining that newspapers have given the museum a wealth of information. “For future historians, I don't know where they would go looking for sources.”

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