“This Newsman Ink That Runs Through My Veins”

My father spent his life in this newsroom. Now I’m witness to how the business has forever changed.

Photo by Will Steacy

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In July 2012, after enduring bankruptcy, plummeting circulation, staff buyouts, and waves of layoffs, the Philadelphia Inquirer moved out of the “Tower of Truth,” the landmark building it had occupied since 1925. Photographer Will Steacy, the descendant of five generations of newspapermen—his father was laid off in 2011 after 29 years at the Inquirer—captured the newsroom before and after it downsized for the post-print era. Steacy went through volumes of family archives and recently recorded the following conversations with his father about the family’s experiences in the newspaper business.

Click the arrows below to listen to audio clips and browse images.


The Tower of Truth

The home of the Philadelphia Inquirer for more than 80 years.

 

The Family Business

Will’s father reminisces about Will’s grandfather John, who was also a newspaper editor.

 

Copyboy

Will’s father describes his first newspaper job.

 

First Big Story

Will’s father and grandfather had similar “big breaks.”

 

Tools of the Trade

Will’s father describes paste pots, typewriters, and computers throughout the decades.

 

The AIDS Story

One of the Inquirer‘s most ambitious stories.

 

“Mirror to America”

Will’s father turns the mic back on Will.

 

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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