I FONDLY REMEMBER the Nashua Telegraph when it was located downtown at 60 Main St. As a child, I sometimes would accompany my editor dad, John Stylianos, there on a late Sunday afternoon with my brothers, Andy and Philip.
The newsroom’s large windows overlooked the swift-running Nashua River right in the heart of the Gate City. It was a place dad spent many hours in the days when the Telegraph was an evening paper.
“Because of wartime service, I did not join the Telegraph until I was 29 and a half, and being hired was simply luck. Before that, I had mopped floors at Priscilla’s Restaurant, was a laborer in the textile mill, at Johns-Manville, at Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, CT, and also played pro football,” he once wrote to me.
He would spend the next 36 years at the Telegraph working his way up to the role of managing editor and never missing a deadline with truth, integrity and reputation.
I can still hear the clickety-clack of his old manual typewriter and the smell of his pipe tobacco wafting through the air. My father, like many, was a proud hometown boy who grew up with little and was an adventurous soul in his youth.
John D. Harrigan started his first newspaper job at 60 Main St. in 1968. My late father hired him to cover the police beat, and he’d be proud of the veteran newsman recently inducted into the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame.
Harrigan once described the old Telegraph in an email to me in jest as “a newsroom straight out of a ca. 1930s movie set. Upstairs were the typesetting department (Linotypes producing hot-metal type), and the composing room piecing the pages together. In the basement was the pressroom, with the newsroom in between.”
Harrigan enjoyed his years there and recalls how my dad drilled into his reporters the axioms of good writing: “Accidents don’t take place, they happen, or occur. A car can’t collide with a tree; for that, the tree would have to be moving. You can jump in the river once you’re in it, but for that, you have to jump in. A robbery, because it had to be planned, takes place.”
Andrew Bickford (former Telegraph publisher) also started at the paper in 1968 as a teen, telling fellow newsman Dean Shalhoup in an interview for “Nashua 50,” a special edition published by The Telegraph in 2012, how versatile reporters were trained to be.
“I remember going to the hospitals to record the births, to the register of deeds for the real estate transfers, to City Hall for the past week’s marriage records — and then (I would) cover games and write sports stories.”
It was a different time then.
In 1993, the publication went to a morning edition. Today, The Telegraph prints only a Sunday edition, with a daily online presence, saying they’re “accelerating our move into the future.” Maybe so, but most will miss finding the newspaper on their porch. And sadly, elderly readers and/or those without access to computers, smartphones or tablets will probably feel a disconnect from their community.