Chairman’s View: Advertiser, Hersam’s Served New Canaan for a Century (Nov. 21, 2018)
Op-Ed: Advertiser, Hersams served New Canaan for a century
BY BY JOHN ENGEL
‘A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself’
— Arthur Miller
The New Canaan Advertiser has certainly come to embody that ideal. We are a community talking to itself through our local newspaper. Whether you see evidence of that at the Friday morning coffees, or in our spirited letters to the editor, in the many events and vigils and gatherings has promoted in the paper throughout our town, and in the editorials, the New Canaan Advertiser is part of the essential fabric of our town.
That is why I did not want to let this moment pass without recognizing the soul of a paper which has become the soul of our town, to take just one a moment during this period of transition to new ownership, and recognize the Hersam Family for their success and steadfast stewardship of a newspaper that has not only reflected but formed the soul of our community for well over a century. Since John E. Hersam’s single sheet in 1908 and his motto, “Grow or Go” both this town and our paper have grown beyond his wildest expectations.
Consider the changes that the Hersams have navigated. We may have had a railroad when the Hersams started this paper, but we were nothing special, just another simple shoe-manufacturing town connected to New York City by a branch of the main railroad. No port, no highway. Exactly one hundred years after the Advertiser started (2008) New Canaan would claim the highest median family income in the country, the best public school system in the state and 3rd best in the nation. So much has changed and yet since 1919 we still carol on Gods Acre every year, Rick Franco still shovels his own sidewalk and we all look for the Advertiser every Thursday.
The Internet disrupted the news business and newspapers in particular, and yet New Canaan has always relied on the Advertiser as the best and most consistent source for local sports reporting. How many of us scan the pages each week for a mention of our children and the familiar names of our friends? So too for most of our lives we’ve relied on other sections School, Obituaries, Opinion, Around Town, Arts, Real Estate and Classifieds as the only way to really understand our community.
In this town you probably aren’t really dead until the Advertiser prints your obituary and the community that loved you can appreciate you and mourn your passing. Your Advertiser editorials have been our collective conscience, prodding us to action for over a century.
We are a community talking to itself and The New Canaan Advertiser, now in its 110th year is by any standard not just a good newspaper but an excellent one, both in the quality and depth of its reporting, the range of topics it covers, and the breadth of its influence on our town.
Thank you Hersam Family for an excellent first 110 years of the New Canaan Advertiser, and we wish the Hearst organization every success in following your example.