This editor is moving on. By the time you read these words, I will have retired.

It has been an honor to work at John S. Knight’s newspaper for 37 years, with nearly a third of that time as editor. I have had the pleasure of talking with many of you as you shared your thoughts about our community, its people and this newspaper. I have enjoyed serving you through our journalism.

The Beacon Journal newsroom is full of good journalists who care about their work and know how to tell a good story.

Today I will share some stories you have not read. These are stories from inside the Beacon Journal.

A newsroom is is not your typical office. Newsrooms collect people who are serious, dedicated, question authority (and I was an authority figure) and never believe anything without double checking. Journalists have a sense of humor and a way of looking at the world that best can be described as unique.

Stop the presses!

Many times over the course of my career — especially when I was night managing editor — I got to stop the presses.

It never was as dramatic as what you see in the movies. For starters, you can yell “STOP THE PRESSES!” all you want, but they cannot hear you because the machinery is too loud and the press operators wear ear protection. A hand signal — a slash across your throat with your index finger — did the trick. That was followed by a “What now?” eye roll from the foreman.

Rather than some big, dramatic story, stopping the presses usually involved some stupid error. I stopped the presses for misspelled headlines, running the wrong photo, putting a page from yesterday in tomorrow’s edition and putting the stock listings where the comics were supposed to be.

On hold

When working as a metro editor, I came in one July 4 evening to prepare for the next day’s paper. We had only one reporter in the newsroom during the day because of the holiday.

After some time, I realized it was really, really quiet. The phones were not ringing. I looked at the phones on the metro desk. Blinking red lights were lit up like Christmas.

Me: “Is something wrong with the phones?”

Reporter: “No, not that I know of.”

Me: “Well, they are not ringing and all the lights are blinking.”

Reporter: “Oh, that. We were getting so many calls and I was here by myself and I could not answer them all. So I turned all the phones down.”

Me: “Well, I guess you solved that problem. Do you think we should turn them back up now?”

Reporter: “Not a bad idea.”

Buy the paper

Before the internet came along, we would get calls for high school scores, particularly during football season.

We had a sports editor who took this approach to giving out scores.

His first question was, “Do you subscribe to the Beacon Journal?” If the caller answered yes, he would give the score.

But if the caller answered no, he would say, “Buy tomorrow’s paper,” and hang up.

We have voicemail

Here is how we found out how long our voicemail will record a message.

Once a former, long-serving mayor of Akron called to express his anger over something we had written, done or whatever. He got my voicemail (I probably was in a meeting or somewhere). He went on for quite a while before the voicemail cut him off.

That is how we found that our voicemail had an 8½-minute limit.

A character

Every newsroom has at least one reporter who is a character. Things just happen — like being late to cover the Cleveland Auto Show because he lost his car keys. Or the time he was clearing snow one December when he looked down to see Christmas lights being spewed out of his snowthrower.

More character

One night I got a call from the newsroom to let me know a fire was under control. I thought there must have been a fire in the city.

Turns out the fire was in the newsroom. One of the night editors brought in some chicken, put it in a broiler to heat up and forgot about it. Somebody got the bright idea to throw water on the ensuing fire (not the correct response — do not try this at home). The broiler melted and they had to bring fans in to clear out the smoke.

And the chicken? It was fried, too.

But the editor, being ever-prepared, had brought in extra chicken and had that instead.

The paper up north

In August 2003, the power went out here and in a good portion of the Northeastern United States. Power was on at the Beacon Journal because we are on the same grid as nearby hospitals.

But the Plain Dealer did not have power for its presses.

Through a mutual assistance agreement, we printed the Plain Dealer that night. In the press room, Beacon Journals came off two press lines while Plain Dealers came off a third press line.

Looking out my window was a sight to behold: Trucks with “Plain Dealer” in big bold letters surrounding the Beacon Journal to pick up their papers.

(Final note: We retired our presses in 2013. We now are printed by the Plain Dealer.)

Smiles

This did not happen at the Beacon Journal, but it is too good not to share.

A reader once called another newspaper to complain that people in the obituary photos were smiling. The reader apparently thought that the recently deceased should be serious.

A clerk at the paper replied that at the time the photos were taken those folks did not know they were dead.

Happy birthday!

The Beacon Journal’s birthday is April 15. One year, a reader left me a voicemail where she sang “Happy Birthday” to the Beacon Journal.

Retired editor compliment

Last summer, we looked back on the 1968 Lane-Wooster riot in Akron. While we were planning our coverage, the Beacon Journal’s city editor from that time contacted me to ask if we were interested in his take on those events 50 years later.

He sent me his story. It needed a fair amount of editing to tighten it up and improve the flow. Now there is little an editor dreads more than having to do a lot of work on a piece by another editor who is his senior.

I made the changes, emailed what I had done back to him and held my breath while I waited.

“Masterful” was the word he used to describe the edited version of the story.

On that note, I thought I should retire. I could not ask for a higher compliment.

I have had a good run.

I have been lucky to meet a lot of good people during my time at the Beacon Journal. Done right, journalism is hard work, but getting a story right and making a difference is nothing short of rewarding.

As for retirement? There are photographs to be taken, songs to be played and … time. Plenty of time to read the stories the Beacon Journal has yet to tell.