In the heyday of central Pennsylvania print journalism two competing newspapers served the State College area, and the people involved — many of whom were Penn Staters — brought two different approaches to their work.
The Mirror, a morning paper, challenged the established Centre Daily Times, which then arrived on newsstands and was delivered to readers’ homes in the late afternoon.
Those schedules impacted the approach of the newspapers, as did the personalities of those involved. Especially those who worked for the Mirror.
“While the CDT was more button down, the guys in their newsroom wore ties, the Mirror was much more laid back,” said Terry Nau, who worked at the Mirror. “We were the other guys, and we really embraced that.”
The Mirror’s arsenal also included a color press. Its brief history spurred competition that made both papers better, and even though the Mirror published its last paper on Dec. 31, 1977, its legacy continues.
That legacy prompted a book, “We Had Ink In Our Blood,” which is set for release in mid-July and features 18 different chapters, each written by a former Mirror or CDT staff member.
Longtime faculty member R. Thomas Berner, a professor emeritus who taught at Penn State from 1975 to 2003 and worked at both papers during his career, wrote the opening chapter. He and Nau served as co-editors of the book.
Nau, who earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Penn State in 1972, has previously written five books, all related to the Vietnam War. He served in the artillery near Tay Ninh and Cu Chi in 1967-68. Those books were personal for Nau and those who they profiled.
Still, “We Had Ink In Our Blood” was a special labor of love. After the Mirror, Nau was a newspaper sports editor for 40 years before retiring in 2012.
“There were just so many great people, really great writers, and so many stories,” Nau said. “It seemed like every chapter prompted another memory. It was exciting to bring it all together, and I think it will be interesting for people who were served by the papers — and for people to get a glimpse at journalism at that time.
“We’re certainly moving away from how things worked then, and it’s good to look back and remember those things, I think.”
The book is available from Mt. Nittany Press, an imprint of Eifrig Publishing in Lemont, Pennsylvania.