By GARY ACKERMAN
Its hard to believe that 30 years have gone by since I proudly held the first
issue of what was then the Flushing Tribune in my hands. When I look back, I am
amazed at how much times have changed. Back then we wrote our stories on typewriters, not
computers; we sent and received press releases through the mail, not over fax machines;
using color photos was not a reality and the Internet was not even invented yet (although
the Tribunes Web Page looks great).
In addition, the millennium seemed light years away. Now,
almost 30 years later, as we enter the next century, I am so pleased to see that the Trib
is continuing to get better and stronger.
Although times have changed and the newspaper business has evolved
dramatically, the Queens Tribune has remained committed to the initial pledge we
made when we founded the paper: to honor the highest journalistic standards in order to
serve the citizens of Queens.
Back in 1970, I was just a brash twenty-something school teacher. After a
stint as the editor of a Queens College newspaper, I decided that I wanted to fill the
need for a local community newspaper. The Daily News the New York Times,
and the L.I. Press, were so big that local stories could not get coverage in them.
So, I started a monthly called the Flushing Tribune. After two months, it went to
twice a month and then immediately to a weekly.
All of a sudden, the concept of a regular weekly community newspaper in
our borough was pioneered. And we were operating on a shoe-string budget in a humble real
estate office on Main Street. We had a lot of kids working for free college kids
who wrote well and thirsted for a byline. Our philosophy was simple local, local,
local. Everything I told them was local. I remember saying that if the atomic bomb drops
on Manhattan, the story we cover (and the only story we cover) is the traffic jam backed
up into Queens. Everything is local angles, all journalism was local.
Today, I am proud that the Tribune continues this philosophy most
of the time and has kept this a local paper in every sense of the word. They cover the
city, the nation and the world, from potholes in Queens to the global opinions of the more
than two million residents of our neighborhoods.
The Trib fights for and reports on issues that are important to
Queens residents. Whether through the Queens Deadline page, Queens Profile, Police
Blotter, the TribPix spread, or the leisure and events guide, the Tribune remains
on the cutting edge of Queens news. In addition, the paper continues its tradition of
being a community advocate, tackling the boroughs most critical problems through its
Of equal importance, it serves the needs of the local business,
professional and merchant communities, getting their message out efficiently and
Although I am now serving my country and my constituents in Congress, the Tribune
has prospered over the years under the stewardship of the super-competent Mike Schenkler.
The Tribune has also grown to include dozens of sister publications as part of a
I still read the paper and feel proud to have laid the groundwork for
their enormous success successes that have included everything from winning major awards
to receiving praise from President Bill Clinton.
So, heres to Mike and that great Trib Gang:
Ya done good!
And you make me proud.