For over 170 years, the North Adams Transcript served the residents of the Northern Berkshires, informing the locals and serving as a training ground for world-class journalists.
Executive Producer Tony Dunne fires up the press one last time and turns the page back for a look at the storied history of what was once called the best small daily newspaper in New England.
This story originally aired on April 20, 2016. Find more stories of western Mass places that are “gone but not forgotten” here.
Read the Full Transcript:
Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: For over 170 years, the North Adams Transcript served the residents of the Northern Berkshires informing the locals and serving as a training ground for world class journalists.
Executive producer Tony Dunne fires up the press one last time and turns the page back for a look at the storied history of what was once called the best small daily newspaper in New England.
Nick Noyes, The Transcript: Everybody got the Transcript. I used to deliver the Transcript when I was when I was real young.
Tammy Daniels, The Transcript: It was one of those tentpoles of the community. You had the radio, television and the newspaper, and the newspaper for us was the Transcript.
Nick Noyes: The Transcript covered everything that was moving. And if it wasn’t in the Transcript, it was like it didn’t happen.
The Transcript, at the time that I came there in January of 78, was really in the heyday of of local journalism I think for newspapers.
We had probably the equivalent of close to 30 full time newsroom staff, which is huge for what at that time was about a 12,000 circulation newspaper.
John Krol, The Transcript: It was exciting. There’s a lot of youth and energy there, a lot of people, again, learning the craft and having really good mentors.
Gillian Jones, The Transcript: Everyone at the newspaper was very close.
We were all very passionate about what we were doing.
We were all more or less doing it for the first time.
Jim Niedbalski, The Transcript: The community really respected the paper for the most part.
They love to to, you know, deride it as well.
But we always said, that means you’re reading it, right?
Nick Noyes: The newsroom was a hub.
People would come into the newsroom, you know, maybe they’d be irate because they didn’t like a story or they come in because they wanted a story.
Tammy Daniels: And there would be this huge amount of activity.
There’d be nothing happening. And then sort of like this burst of activity would happen.
Then the press would be rolling and the papers would be coming off and people would be coming in.
And it was sort of exciting to be there.
Gillian Jones: I remember a few times the sports guys blowing off some steam and throwing a football in the newsroom and having it whizz past my head.
Tammy Daniels: Probably one of the most exciting things is at one time I got to yell, “Hold the presses” because I found an error on the front page of a tabloid we were working on.
Nick Noyes: We had just a huge news staff that informed people about what was going on in their community.
Gillian Jones: Everybody had a column, so even I wrote a column and every day of the week, everyone, you know, on a weekly basis, we each wrote about something that we felt passionate about.
Kris Dufour, The Transcript: And so we met a lot of people and we told a lot of people’s stories.
And I mean, for me, it was the most rewarding experience professionally of my life because, you know, I ended up being invited to Thanksgiving people’s houses for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Gillian Jones: Working at the Transcript, you’re definitely part of the community.
You know, as a photographer, everybody knew who I was because I would have to go to these events and cover them.
Nick Noyes: And the Transcript photographer was a celebrity.
I remember once they had a dream auction where people could bid on the job that they wanted. And I had the great pleasure to kid the mayor that they paid more than twice as much to be the Transcript photographer for a day as they did to be the mayor.
Tammy Daniels: The big thing would be to be in the Transcript.
You know, Randy Trabold, the legendary photographer, you know, he would come around and he would take your picture when you were sliding. He would take your picture when you were in the parade.
Nick Mantello, The Transcript: He was a legend. Even even I think this next generation even still vaguely remembers Randy Trabold.
John Krol: I think the North Adams Transcript was incredible training ground for many, many journalists and legendary people. Daniel Pearl.
Nick Noyes: He actually wrote to Joe Day and said, I’d really like to join your newspaper. And so, Danny came out and in the Transcript got one of the finest up and coming journalists who was available at the time. Day to day you went and you never knew what you’d experience.
Tammy Daniels: You have a schedule and every reporters go out and they do their thing and then a snowstorm comes and then suddenly you have a paper to fill in the morning. Nothing’s happening that night except snow.
Nick Noyes: The October 4th snowstorm was my weekend to do the parade, and it turned out to be a two page spread from the snowfall. It was huge.
Jim Niedbalski: I forget the year, maybe 84, 85. There was a tractor trailer on Route two coming down Route two into North Adams that couldn’t make the turn at the hairpin turn hit a wall and it was a gasoline tanker and exploded into flames.
Nick Noyes: It was a scene out of a war zone.
It was unbelievable.
It was my last day on the job and it was really the only time I’ve ever been frightened for my life doing a job because it was so otherworldly and I thought this would be incredibly ironic to be done in on my on my final day on my final afternoon at the paper.
John Krol: It’s interesting that a small hometown newspaper in North Adams, Massachusetts, was one of the only publications in the country to do an extra on September 11th.
Kris Dufour: There was only the second special section the Transcript had done.
The other one was when World War Two ended. So it had been the first one.
They’ve really done a new special section since the end of World War Two.
John Krol: Being able to report on local angles: people in Washington, people in New York City, what they are going through.
I’ll never forget that day.
Kris Dufour: But I think, you know, we all knew.
That someday the transcript would end.
It wasn’t a money maker for a long time.
Jim Niedbalski: For years, a lot of ex Transcript of people, that I still remained friends with, we used to joke about taking over the Transcript at some point.
Of course we were joking, but you know, when when we heard that that that it was going to close down for good, we said, well, we I guess we missed the boat.
I guess we should have tried that.
Gillian Jones: I think being at the Transcript was an amazing job for me and being in the community which I live in and I care about.
Kris Dufour: We lived here, we worked here, we we walked down the streets, you know, when something happened to the schools, we were affected.
When something happened at town hall, we were affected.
Nick Noyes: People don’t realize the extent to which the Transcript covered everything and was so integral to the North Berkshire community.
Kris Dufour: There was a very good local paper and in its heyday it was the best of the best.
Jim Niedbalski: There’s still a void. And, you know, the eagle obviously still covers North Berkshire, but it’s not quite the same.
Tammy Daniels: So, I’m hoping that as we move into the future, we’ll remember the Transcript and talk about it, because I think it’s one of those things that we can’t just let disappear into the history because it covered so much of our lives.
John Krol: There is no paper that says North Adams Transcript anymore, but there’s still a legacy.