Opinion: Happy 129th

Wednesday, March 31, 2021, The Madera Tribune reached one of its annual milestones. On that day in 1892, George A. Clark founded a newspaper that would eventually become The Madera Tribune you are now reading.


Borrowing the extensive research of my esteemed colleague Bill Coate, the history of the Madera Tribune is told from its inception to today. This story in the Internet archives of this publication.


On March 21, 1885, Edgar Eugene Vincent founded the Madera Mercury named after the San Jose Mercury News, his one-time employer. It ran from 1901 to 1925.


Drawing on information from the Madera County Museum and back issues of the Tribune, Coate writes of the life and the journey Clark made. Coate begins with the man’s birth in Woodman, Wisconsin on Oct. 18, 1865. The story tells of how Clark traveled cross country, which led him to work at some of the newspapers of the day.


He founded The Madera Tribune, later buying Madera Mercury merging it with his Madera Tribune. He owned the newspaper until his demise reported in our Sept. 8, 1944 edition. He ran the newspaper he established bringing his son, Howard A. Clark into the business in 1919. It was with great fanfare, including black borders on his Tribune obituary, that our founder was laid to rest at Arbor Vitae Cemetery.


I find it interesting his birthday lacks two days of being my own, only 90 years later. Since we are both Libras enamored with The Madera Tribune, for me, it moves past being interesting and into the realm of intriguing. In mid-June, my own association with The Madera Tribune will reach its 26th year. From advertising to editorial and circulation, I have held almost every position the Tribune has to offer. I will expound on my personal journey throughout the past two-and-a-half decades on my anniversary.


Our founder held various jobs in the newspaper industry all across the country. Clark came to California and landed in Fresno in 1890, securing employment at the weekly Fresno Expositor. Two years later he came north, crossing the San Joaquin River, writes Coate. Clark founded this publication, serving the residents of Madera for now more than 129 years.


The staff of The Madera Tribune has both Clark and our dear late publisher, editor and owner, Charles Packard Doud, to thank for keeping the Tribune alive all these years.


I would be remiss were I not to mention a previous owner, the late Dean Leasher. More important still is his employment of our Publisher Emeritus, Les Hayes. Following Leasher’s death, his estate sold The Madera Tribune and Hayes retired.


Our one-time publisher Betty Linn convinced Hayes to rejoin the staff of the Tribune in our retail advertising department after enjoying several years of hiatus. That helped to heal the rift that existed between the Tribune and this community.


The Madera Tribune offers Madera someplace the Internet tries to cover and often falls short.


The Madera Tribune staff cares every almost as much about Madera’s Friday Night Lights and high school football as we care about the corruption at city hall. Do we miss important things that happen in Madera? Sadly, yes. But our devoted staff covers as much of the happenings in Madera as possible.


Where else can people get the heads-up about the 4-H and FFA clubs? Rotary and other service clubs in Madera often grace our pages, too. The readers can then immediately clip out the article and send copies to their grandparents and other family members.


We gather as much community news as we can, print it in one of our weekly editions, and have it delivered to our subscribers’ mailboxes.


We remain relevant to the community by being Madera’s adjudicated publication for legal notices.


Now before I hear it, about my assertions, that we are the only place the information can be found, let me say this. There are Internet sites that attempt to cover community events important to Madera. Most people know this, and if not, the proper keystrokes will enlighten them.


Living here almost my entire life, I know Maderans don’t like major changes to their institutions. The sale of the Tribune to a media company in the Midwest was one of the biggest it had ever seen.


We are now once again faced with major trauma to The Madera Tribune, with the death of Chuck Doud. Subscribers, friends and relatives often ask me “What’s going on with the Tribune.”


The truth is I don’t know. I am fairly certain the final decision has yet to be made. Until it is, we are soldiering along in a way we hope would be pleasing to our dear Chuck Doud.


Back in 2012, Doud participated in a television interview conducted by former news anchor, KMPH Channel 26’s, John Malos. During the course of the interview, Malos asked Doud his opinion of the fate of newspapers, and about the threat posed by electronic media. Would print media even survive? the Internet he asked.


According to the story written shortly after Chuck’s death, Coate relayed to readers the information from that TV appearance.

Since newspaper survived the advent of the radio and television news, newspapers may lose readership for a while, then it will then recover, stronger than ever, said Doud.


He really believed in print media and stood up for it.


Happy 129th anniversary to The Madera Tribune! Here’s to 129 more.


Long days and pleasant nights and have a blessed Easter weekend.


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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing tamijonix@gmail.com or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.

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