The Ross News

I hated how I left a newspaper job in 1993. Three decades later, I got to write a better ending.

EDMOND, Okla. — I interned at the Edmond Evening Sun my senior year at Oklahoma Christian University. That was way back in the Stone Age, circa 1989-1990.

The Sun — launched a century earlier in Oklahoma Territory — published Tuesday through Friday afternoons and Sunday mornings. It had a daily circulation of roughly 10,000 (I don’t recall the exact figure).

I made $5 an hour working on Saturdays. I did some proofreading. I wrote a few weekend stories. I perused the Associated Press and New York Times wires. This was before the internet, and I loved seeing the news the day before everybody else read it on newsprint.

Related: Requiem for Oklahoma’s oldest newspaper (by James Coburn)

A journalism major, I imagined what it would be like to write for a wire service or big paper and file important stories with datelines from near and far.

I returned to the Sun as a full-time staff writer reporting on police/fire news and higher education from December 1991 to May 1993.

At the suburban paper north of Oklahoma City, I covered car wrecks, murders and university regents meetings. I covered a campaign stop by the first President Bush at Oklahoma Christian. I covered a news conference where I asked Vice President Dan Quayle a question.

I covered a hometown parade for Olympic gymnast Shannon Miller and a homecoming concert by native Oklahoman Garth Brooks. I covered a highly competitive congressional race after the eight-term incumbent got caught up in Rubbergate, the House banking scandal. I covered the return home to Edmond of FBI special agent and lead spokesman Bob Ricks after the Waco inferno.

I always regretted how my time with the Sun ended.

The Sun was in a newspaper war with The Oklahoman, the statewide daily that had an Edmond zoned section three days a week. I wanted to work at The Oklahoman, which then had a circulation over 300,000 on Sundays. The Oklahoman also had a shiny, 12-story glass office tower and many more resources than the Sun.

When The Oklahoman offered me a job covering Edmond with a 50% pay raise, the decision was easy for me. The decision was even easier when I confirmed there’d be no health insurance gap (my wife, Tamie, was seven months pregnant with our first child, Brady).

I don’t know what I expected the Sun to do when I put in my two-weeks notice. Publisher Ed Livermore tried to persuade me that The Oklahoman didn’t want me so much as they were trying to get to him. I told him I had a pregnant wife and a family to support and would let them use me. Managing Editor Carol Hartzog, who hired me, was always a supportive and encouraging boss. But she gave me a box and 30 minutes to clear out my things.

There was a newspaper war, after all.

This past Saturday night, more than 29 years later, I joined a large group of Sun employees, including Livermore and Hartzog, at a reunion to celebrate the legacy of a newspaper that no longer exists. It closed two years ago.

Everyone got to hold the microphone and tell what the Sun meant to them. I reflected on how much the experience I gained at the Sun meant in my future endeavors — at The Oklahoman, The Associated Press and The Christian Chronicle.

As a young journalist, I probably was too focused on the next step. I never took the time to appreciate fully the value of that year and a half at the Sun in the early 1990s.

I feel so blessed that I got the opportunity to do so Saturday night and to hear the stories of so many other people — in news, advertising, production and other departments — whose vital work sustained the Sun for more than a century.

— Bobby

Featured image via Shutterstock

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A few reunion photos

Me, sitting by Ed Livermore Jr. at the Edmond Sun reunion.
Me, with Steve Lackmeyer and Carol Hartzog at the Edmond Sun reunion.
Me, with my wife, Tamie, and Steve Lackmeyer (my friend, former Edmond Sun intern and 2022 inductee into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame) at the reunion.

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More clips from my time with the Sun

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