We are so focused on putting out the Sunday Dispatch each week that we completely missed our birthday. It was last Sunday, Feb. 9.
The first Sunday Dispatch hit the streets of Greater Pittston on Feb. 9, 1947, and some 3,500 eager readers plunked down ten cents apiece to get a glimpse of that first issue.
In his editorial that first Sunday, William a. Watson Sr., just back from World War II, wrote: “Your Sunday Dispatch will appear on the newsstands every Sunday. It is a new venture but a permanent figure for the future. Each week we will add to the enjoyment that we are certain the reading of this newspaper will provide.”
The paper has not missed a Sunday since, and that includes publishing during two floods, a hurricane or two and countless snow storms.
On the paper’s 40th anniversary in 1987, then-advertising manager Dick Cosgrove, who was on the staff for the first issue, said of Bill Watson: “He was a reporter whose only interest was people. His objective was to cover the events of people and the actions and identities of people. He wanted to write about people because they were the ones who read the paper.”
To this day, the Sunday Dispatch has kept true to Watson’s vision. The Sunday Dispatch covers people. We tell the stories of the people of Greater Pittston.
Our archives have been called “the chronicle of a small town,” and that they are. A Greater Pittston resident can trace his or her life through the pages of the paper. And most likely has a scrapbook doing just that.
The current editor likes to call the Sunday Dispatch “the most clipped out newspaper in the country.”
“We wind up on a lot of refrigerator doors,” he says.
That’s the way Bill Watson wanted it 67 years ago.
William A. Watson Sr., the founding editor, died in 1977. His son, William A. Watson Jr., the paper’s second editor, died in 1993. His grandson, John Watson, the third editor, died last year.
We, the current members of the staff, like to think we make Watson Sr. and the subsequent editors of the paper proud of the Sunday Dispatch each and every Sunday. We certainly knock ourselves out trying.