‘A world of changes’

After 45 years at newspaper, Schultz headed to next assignment — retirement

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry City Editor Tom Schultz announces some pretty clear intentions to the newsroom staff of the Times Observer on Wednesday.

After 45 years of newsroom work for the Times Observer, City Editor Tom Schultz is headed to his next assignment – retirement.

Wednesday was his last day and he took some time to reflect on the host of experiences that have made up his long journalism career.

His career with what has since become the Times Observer started in October 1971.

Schultz was working for a weekly newspaper in Michigan, where he is originally from.

“I was looking for something more substantial than that,” he said, expecting to come to Warren for a couple years, gain experience as a sports reporter, and go back home.

“We liked it. We made a lot of great friends (and) liked the people I worked with,” Schultz recalled. “I never found a job in Michigan I wanted to go back to.”

He started as a sports reporter in the age of electric typewriters.

“You relied more on face-to-face interviewing,” he said, as well as the telephone – hoping that someone answered that could take a message as voicemail wasn’t an option in those days.

In the course of 42 years, some of the assignments were good – others heart-wrenching.

“I remember there was a drowning at what is now Wendy’s,” Schultz said. “(I) went down to cover it and had to talk to the parents. That was awful. That was the dark side of the job.”

As sports reporter, Schultz was in the newsroom the night Mike Shine was silver medalist at the 1976 Olympics.

“Probably everybody in Warren County was in front of their TV” for the race, he said. The network that was covering the Olympics, he said, switched to a restaurant in Montreal where Mike Shine was.

“Naturally, the question in the newsroom became – how can we talk to Mike Shine tonight?

“We called directory assistance and got the number for that restaurant in Montreal (that was on TV),” he said, and “asked to speak with Mike… and they put him on the phone.”

Other stories stood out.

“One of the things that I really liked was the ‘One of Us’ series that I proposed with the redesign of the paper,” Schultz said. “The only guideline for choosing a subject was it could not be a politician and not in the news all the time.”

He also cited the series that we undertook in 2013 regarding the drug problem in Warren County that was awarded a Keystone Press Award.

Schultz stayed in college and earned his teaching certificate — though student teaching was enough for him to realize that teaching wasn’t his calling.

“If you look back, what I’ve done in here is teaching,” Schultz said. “I’ve had both worlds – classroom and newsroom – making the newsroom into a classroom.”

There are other things he’ll miss about the newsroom.

“Just talking about the news, speculating, trying to come up with different angles for stories,” he said.

Looking ahead, Schultz said he is “going to keep busy,” holding on to a part-time job as well as joining a golf league, something he has “never been able to do.”

“We’ll probably do some traveling,” he said. “I don’t want to commit myself to too much too soon. I imagine at some point I will contact the city” regarding positions on city authorities and commissions.

“It’s been some good years,” he said. “There’s just been a world of changes in how things are covered. The constant has always been to get it right and get it complete and you still have reporters that are committed to the job and want to do a good job.”