Jim Krumel: No cell phones, or Facebook too?


By Jim Krumel - [email protected]



Jim Krumel

Jim Krumel


LOOKING BACK

Jim Krumel will be retiring on Dec. 31st after working 28 years at The Lima News, the last 20 as editor. He looks back at some of the people and events the newspaper covered during that time.

People have been asking what’s the biggest “game-changer” I’ve seen during the 47 years I’ve worked in the newspaper industry, the last 28 in Lima.

It’s easy to answer.

The cell phone.

Not only has this pocket computer changed newspapering, but it’s transformed nearly every business in the world. It’s the vehicle that drives the so-called information highway. With a tap of the finger, you can land inside a store, order a sandwich or find the news of the day.

If you’re under the age of 30, you may wonder how we survived without such a tool. No texting? No selfies? No Facebook? Well, in our business, we actually produced news by talking with each other.

I know, pretty outdated. But it had its moments.

In fact, my favorite newsroom moment actually came BCP — before cell phones. It’s about a story published in The Lima News that resulted in three boys ending up on the Jay Leno show. If you’ve heard me tell this story before, I apologize, but that’s what you do when you get older, you repeat yourself.

Anyway, it happened in the mid-1990s during a brutal August heat wave. News had been particularly slow. Our city editor, Keith Helmlinger, was looking for local stories — anything — to fill up the next day’s edition, when he received a telephone call from a Lima woman. The woman said she drove past several children who were waving to motorists on Gloria Avenue. The woman said the children’s politeness made her feel special.

Keith pondered the call for a while and began wondering what prompted these kids to stand on a street corner waving at cars. He sent a reporter to find out, who, by the way, thought Keith was crazy. Kids waving at motorists? Where’s the news? She reluctantly left, only because Keith pointed out she wasn’t doing anything in the office besides soaking up the air-conditioning, which to this day is one of the all-time classic lines I’ve heard in a newsroom.

An hour later, the reporter returned and pronounced she had a great human-interest story. (Now, the story had become her idea). She said the kids were bored and decided to try to get a hundred people to wave to them. They had funny stories to tell, she noted.

Later in the afternoon, The Lima News received its daily call from AP in Columbus, wondering if we had any news worth sharing. (Remember, there was no Facebook or websites to check back then. Those of us in the communication business once again had to actually talk to each other.)

Keith told the AP it was so slow in Lima that he sent a reporter out to talk with kids who were waving at motorists. The folks in Columbus begged for the story, explaining every paper around the state was reporting a slow news day, and they had little to put on the news wire.

Meanwhile, the AP desk in New York put out a plea to Columbus, asking for any unusual stories it might have. The news around the nation was also slow, it noted. As a result, the story about children waving to cars in Lima, Ohio, was placed on the national wire and published by newspapers across the nation.

But the tale didn’t end there.

A member of The Jay Leno Show read the story and got an idea: He wondered if folks in Burbank, Calif., were as polite as those in Lima. As a result, the children were flown to California to appear on the Leno show, where they were asked to go outside and see if they could get a hundred people to wave to them.

The Lima kids did their best, but to no one’s surprise, few California motorists would have anything to do with their kindness. They had places to go and people to see, after all. There was no time to smile or wave to some child standing on the corner.

It provided a good laugh for fans of the Leno show and a fun story for us.

ROSES AND THORNS: A legend walks into the rose garden.

Rose: To Dan Fanger, who will be retiring Jan. 7 as vice president of sales and marketing for Unverferth Mfg. in Kalida, ending a 56-year career with the business. Fanger began working at Unverferth at a time when gasoline was 30 cents a gallon, the Beatles came out with their Rubber Soul album, the Sound of Music was the top-grossing movie and Bonanza was the top-rated TV show.

Rose: To the Arnetts, Victor I and Victor II. They are one of the very few father/son teams who have retired from the Lima Post Office. Victor Arnett II recently retired as a mail carrier with the Lima Post Office after 27 years service, along with three years Army time for retirement purposes. His father (Victor I) retired as a Lima Post Office clerk on Sept. 11, 1998, with 32 years service, along with four years military time for retirement purposes.

Rose: To Ken Meyer, who was named firefighter of the year for Bath Township.

Rose: Perry’s big victory over Shawnee in boys’ basketball has local sports fans wondering how far of a run the Commodores will make when the tournament begins.

Thorn: Lima’s Leo Academy, formerly Golden Bridge, announced it would close at the end of the week, sending frantic parents scurrying to find a school that will accept new students.

PARTING SHOT: Sometimes the best Christmas present is remembering what you’ve already got.

Jim Krumel
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/12/web1_Krumel-Jim-mug-3.jpg-3.jpgJim Krumel

By Jim Krumel

[email protected]

LOOKING BACK

Jim Krumel will be retiring on Dec. 31st after working 28 years at The Lima News, the last 20 as editor. He looks back at some of the people and events the newspaper covered during that time.

Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.

Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.

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