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Newspaper to publish a book

March 14, 2004|by JOHN LEAGUE

The Herald-Mail has published newspapers for 175 years.

We've published a variety of print projects and products, and have published an online edition since 1996.

Yet, in all that time, we've never published a book.

Later this year, that will change.

Our first book will be titled "Washington County, Md., Our Past. Our People. A Historical Portrait."

Like the daily newspaper, the book will be about the community that we serve. It will be the first of many publications of this sort.

Our first volume will feature photos of Hagerstown and Washington County. It will focus on people as well as places.

The exciting part of the project is that the book's contents will be provided by you, our readers.

To get the word out, Michele Wills, our marketing manager, and Susan Snyder, my administrative assistant, have put together a presentation that they've made to about a half-dozen service clubs and organizations in town. We've been running ads for the project in the paper for about two weeks.

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As a result, the photos are pouring in to the newspaper.

I've eavesdropped on a few of the conversations and seen many of the photos. They are fascinating, and each photo brings with it a story or two that's equally interesting.

We're only a few weeks into the project, but it's been a real education about our area's rich agricultural, industrial, social and cultural heritage.

If you have any old photos that you believe may be suitable for publication, call Michele Wills or Susan Snyder at 301-733-5131. They'll be glad to schedule an appointment to take a look at your photos to see if we can publish them.

If we publish your photo, your name will be included in the book and be part of the historical record.

-- Hall of Fame: I have been blessed in my professional life to spend nearly all of my career at The Herald-Mail Co.

I grew up in Charles Town, W.Va., and when I was in college, my roommate once predicted that I'd go back "home" and work for the area's best newspaper, The Morning Herald. (He, too, was a journalism major, though in broadcast, not print. He knew what he was talking about.)

I did end up at The Herald, starting as a reporter, and it didn't take me long to realize why this newspaper is so special.

In our little corner of the world, we've always approached the news without fear or favor, a philosophy that began before I started working here and one that will continue after I depart. More important, we've also worked hard to serve all of our readers, something we continue to work on daily.

Like all good businesses, this philosophy starts at the top. With this newspaper, that's been our ownership, Schurz Communications Inc., and specifically, Jim Schurz.

Jim, a former Herald-Mail editor and publisher, is the 2004 inductee into the Maryland-Delaware-District of Columbia Newspaper Hall of Fame. It's a great honor. He joins newspaper icons like H.L. Mencken, Katharine Graham and Benjamin Bradlee. Thirty-six newspaper men and women are in the Hall. Neill Baylor, inducted in 1974, is the only other member from The Herald-Mail.

This is a special newspaper company because Jim Schurz wanted it to be. He set the bar high. The employees, especially the journalists past and present, thank him for upholding all that's best about our business.

Congratulations, Jim.

John League is editor and publisher of The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 7073, or by e-mail at jleague@herald-mail.com.

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