I spent several days this month on a folding chair in my garage digging through spidery boxes of newsprint in search of various ancient issues of the Sacramento News & Review. My goal was to move through this anniversary task with utmost haste. But that proved impossible.
From SN&R’s 10th anniversary issue in 1999
Each issue required attention; each demanded to be peeled for a memory. I flipped through the early editions and could scarcely remember what it must have felt like to be me then.
Later, I moved on to the fat blue binders, the ones at the front desk, that hold laminated contents pages from SN&R’s first issue forward. I was astounded at how much I’d forgotten about the stories and people, the victories and failures. I was amazed at the content—when taken as a whole—and what it said about Sacramento as a place and the evolution of the News & Review as a newspaper.
Finally, I took to the phones and spoke with many of the reporters, editors, writers and other contributors who helped make the News & Review what it has been over the past 10 years. A surprising number of former staffers said working at SN&R was the best job they ever had. A few expressed disappointment at how things had transpired for them at the paper.
But most responded just as I knew they would, with enthusiasm and equanimity—eager to learn how things were going for Sacramento and the paper, curious about how others who passed through SN&R had fared in life, full of sentiment for the memories that had grown for them here. Many spoke with nostalgia about the challenges they had risen to, the experiences that had changed them, the feeling that maybe they had been a part of a newspaper that tried—and still tries—to stay true and matter to its readers.
What have I learned during this anniversary excursion down memory lane?
Something about the newspaper—that it is philosophically poised to overcome all odds. Something about the people—the best among them are the ones who don’t make a big deal about everyone knowing they are. Something about myself—that I must constantly remind myself of everything I don’t yet know.
The News & Review hereby offers up its 10th anniversary issue.