The News Biz -- Small-town Style

September 28, 1999

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

The News Biz -- Small-town Style

By Steve Jusseaume, Staff Writer

Former Hampton Union employees recall the newspaper as being small-townish, a reflection of the community it served, at mid-century.

Others remember how the paper has changed over the past few decades.

Ed Jewell, now 64-years-old and a North Hampton resident, remembered his short tenure with the paper in the 1950s.

Hampton Union was a sleepy, small newspaper back then," he said.

Jewell said he wrote quite a bit during his tenure. "Most everything editorial-wise that Ed Seavey didn’t write." Jewel said, referring to Ed Seavey Jr., who purchased the paper and the Hampton Publishing Company, a printing business, from his father in 1938. In 1945, Seavey formed a partnership with his brother-in-law Carl Bragg.

Jewell recalled that the business was located in a former garage at 575 lafayette Road. And he remembered Seavey as a community-oriented publisher, however somewhat distant. "I worked close with Seavey. He was polite, he was never abusive and was a good man to work for, but he didn’t get involved with the employees too much. I would almost say he was distant." Jewel. But Seavey was very community-oriented, like many people who lived through the Depression."

While summers were busy at the paper, other seasons in Hampton were very quiet after the tourists left. "The winters here were very slow, there wasn’t much to write about," said Jewel, who eventually went on to work in the restaurant business, and continues to write periodically, mostly poetry these days.

"But it was a wonderful job. I met a lot of very nice people and had a lot of fun," Jewell said.

Barry McCoomb. on the other brand, started working at the paper in September 1969 and, outside of a brief sabbatical in 1973, has been with the paper since. He recalled this month the changes at the paper over the past few decades. "I was basically a truck driver back when I was first hired. But then the paper was looking for someone to help put the paper off mail delivery to home delivery, and I helped do that," said McCoomb. who over the years rose from just a driver to circulation manager over the years. "Back when I first started we had paper carriers but no motor carriers. I’d park the van at the junior high school and the paper boys would come and take the papers."

Hampton Union still has a few paper carriers left, but only about 10, McCoomb said.

He also recalled a time when the Union was printed in Boston, in about 1970. "That was a total disaster," McCoomb said. "We had late papers like you wouldn’t believe."

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