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Daily Mail is gone, but not forgotten

October 28, 2007|By TONY MULIERI

It's nice to have a five-time "Jeopardy!" champion sitting next to you in the newsroom when the boss comes over and tells you he wants a historic timeline of the newspaper from its inception in 1828 to the present.

When Herald-Mail Executive Editor Terry Headlee told me he wanted Bob Fleenor ("Jeopardy!" champ) and I to come up with the timeline, I knew I was in the clear.

That would have been like Joe Torre coming up to me and A-Rod on the bench this summer and telling us he needed a home run from one of us.

Bob hit one out of the park.

If you didn't get a chance to see the timeline in the last editions of The Daily Mail and The Morning Herald, you missed a jewel. Bob provided the nuggets of information, and graphic artist Chad Trovinger put it all together.

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Bob had most of that information in his head. To put it in golf lingo, Bob carried me on that one.

The timeline had information from The Daily Mail's first paper in 1828 to today, providing snippets of major news events along the way from the county, nation and world.

It was like a history lesson.

It was published on the final day of the paper.

That day was surreal. I got to work at 5:30 a.m. as I usually do, but I knew things would be different that day.

We already had the story about the final paper, but we had to come up with the last headline we would write to banner the front page. I knew in advance that The Morning Herald was going with "Stop the presses!"

The night before, I jotted down some ideas:

I was thinking of a railroad theme since Hagerstown is known for its rich railroad history. I came up with "This is our stop" and "We're getting off here."

On a lighter note, "We're mailing it in."

There's a lot of pressure when you know it's the last headline you will ever write for that particular paper.

We were looking for something that would be appropriate for the occasion. We settled on "Thank you, Hagerstown."

After all, it was our readers who kept us going all those years.

When the press finally started to roll, it was a bit traumatic.

There were about 30 Herald-Mail employees watching the huge press and the last Daily Mails feed down to the mailroom for the final delivery.

A lot of us had our photos taken with the last Daily Mail. I never had my photo taken with the newspaper before, but then I never took one on vacation with me. We all signed one of the final papers off the press for posterity.

As the last Daily Mails made their way to the mailroom and out the door, it was like watching an old friend leave town for the final time.

On Monday, Oct. 1, we started a new era with the new and improved Herald-Mail. The new Herald-Mail has been on the streets for about a month now, but The Daily Mail lives on in the town columns we print, the milestones and pet watches we publish, and the odd photos and news snippets sent in by readers.

It's different, yet it is the same.

Thank you, Daily Mail.

Tony Mulieri is community editor of The Herald-Mail. He may be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 7647, or by e-mail at tonym@herald-mail.com.

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