MANCHESTER – The first issue of The Manchester Times was black and white and featured a collection of news and upcoming events that were important in 1995.
There was a story about the construction of a proposed bank on Route 70. Another story detailed what the town’s recreation department had in store for residents. The Manchester Board of Education appointed a new member, and Lakehurst Elementary School students had a historical program.
A lot has changed since then. But not everything.
People still care about what’s going to be built on Route 70, for example. Board members come and go. There’s always something going on in the schools.
I’ve sat in a bagel shop with my family and watched a copy of The Manchester Times go through many hands. It takes a long time for a child to even eat a bagel, and in that hour I saw our paper go through several different customers. It showed just how important it is for us to continue doing what we do best, no matter what challenges await.
In 1995, the internet was nothing more than a curiosity for most people. Few could have predicted that it would become the juggernaut it now is. Like every other industry, journalism had to adapt or get bowled over by it.
That’s why we grew, so that in an instant, you can know if traffic is going to be snarled by a crash. You can see multiple pictures – and even video – from events. You can share a story with your friends from your living room, something you couldn’t do with a hard copy. In turn, we can now reach far more people, much faster than ever.
A quarter of a century is something to celebrate. But it’s hard to celebrate something when there’s bad news all around. Right now, everywhere you look, there’s COVID-19 coverage. It’s seeped into every aspect of our daily lives and it’s hard to imagine life without it.
When I brought home groceries recently, my wife wiped down every package before putting it in the fridge. Everything had to be sanitized before it became part of our house.
It’s going to be another Superstorm Sandy. For the next few years, people will ask each other how they got through it.
This is another challenge. Another time for us as a community to be smart and kind to others, like we did during Sandy.
One week, hopefully sooner rather than later, the front page of this paper won’t have a single story about coronavirus. Hopefully, it will be something we will have learned from. As every flu season comes, we’ll think about it again.
Then we’ll be back covering township events, fun and interesting school programs, elections and the usual important things you expect to see from your local paper.
This newspaper will continue to write stories about proposed businesses and will continue to document what commercial properties are coming or going. It will inform you about what recreational events are available for you and your family.
And it will still be the newspaper that you can depend on to provide everything you need.
Here’s to another 25 years.