Today is a new chapter in the long history of The Westfield News.
After 60 years at 62-64 School St., today we opened our doors at our new office at 181 Root Road inside the Roots Athletic complex.
Yes, you read that correctly.
I know, I know. This is a big change for us, for you, for our frequent visitors who stop in just to say hello.
The Westfield News has been a fixture on School Street for over half-a-century. But to be fair, there have been changes over the years, particularly in the last decade. Something that has not changed is our commitment to you and to the communities we cover – Westfield and Southwick.
I know it’s further away for many of you, but for some, we are now closer and happy to be your neighbor. And we hope you will still come by to say hello. We also hope many of the thousands of families who come through the doors and on the fields at Roots will also stop to say hello, pick up a newspaper and see what we do here. I hope they see that we are still a source for news; a place to see what is happening in our local government and schools; a place to see photos of your family and friends; a newspaper that welcomes and encourages your voice and your participation through Letters to the Editor, story suggestions and submitted photos; a resource when you need to buy or sell something, fix your roof or just see what’s happening at your local libraries, youth organizations and more. And of course, there are the local sports. No other media covers this community’s sports like The Westfield News.
While I am very excited to open this next chapter, I admit I am feeling a bit sad about leaving my home away from home. But, as I said above, there have been many changes.
My history with The Westfield News began in my childhood. The paper was delivered to my home every day and often included sports stories and photos of my aunt, Lisa Murray. She was a star athlete at Westfield High who played three sports and excelled at them all. I was no sports star, but I did play a season of soccer for St. Mary’s High School and was captain of the tennis team, which got me some ink, as did my participation in school plays and musicals.
I graduated from college with a degree in English with a concentration in journalism and worked as a stringer at several central Mass. papers before l landed my first full-time reporter job at my hometown paper, The Westfield News.
Carol Mazza was our longtime publisher and if you knew Carol, you know she ran a tight ship. She was devoted to the paper and giving the community the best product she could. That has not changed. She was a mentor to many of the women who worked at the paper from the 1970s until her death in 2008. Some have said since 2008, if you were in the old newsroom alone at night, you could hear the clicking of her high heels and the smell of her cigarettes. Although the cigarette smelled could be from longtime press foreman Norm.
There was once a printing press at the office. It was ancient, and I still swear I can faintly hear the distinct sound of a hammer banging on the old metal press, Norm yelling, and the smell of ink. Ah, those were the days.
There have been many personalities to walk through and work within those walls. There have been some typical “curmudgeonly” reporters, some bright-eyed interns and loyal employees who stayed for decades. There have been late nights and long mornings. Arguments and discussions. In short, if you’ve worked at The Westfield News or Pennysaver; you’re family.
Yes, I do believe I am waxing nostaligic.
Now, our family includes everyone at Reminder Publishing, which purchased The News last year. Our company recently launched a new free weekly paper covering Easthampton, Southampton and Westhampton, and future expansion is the goal. So, having an office that works for the future just makes sense.
I look forward to this modern working environment, especially because COVID-19 has changed the way we work. Reporters and editors and advertising specialists can all work, well, anywhere they have wifi, but I will miss the occasional whiff of ink, which apparently runs in my blood.