“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

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.

 

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate