The passing over the weekend at age 88 of veteran journalist Bob Greer has given Beccy Tanner, a reporter with the Wichita Eagle, cause to remember a bygone era of print journalism.
In the 1960s, Greer (pictured above, right) covered the case that Truman Capote would later famously chronicle in the groundbreaking tome In Cold Blood. His family survived during The Great Depression by selling peaches door-to-door(!) and he was very proud of never having had anything to do with the era of page views, unique visitors and alternate Web headlines:
Greer possessively hung on to three manual typewriters, in case one or two would be in a state of repair, and avidly embraced his hunt-and-peck method of typing stories and scratching story ideas on napkins until the last few months of his life. He would brag to friends he didn’t know how to turn on a computer…
At age five, he knew he wanted to be a journalist… He was at a wrestling match and watched how journalists sat around the ring with typewriters, writing their stories, and was amazed they could get paid for it. By fifth grade, he’d won a contest to name a school newspaper, calling it The Broadcast.
Greer wrote for newspapers in Colorado and Nebraska before settling in Kansas. Right up until a few months ago, he was still actively watching over as editor the Protection Press, a weekly newspaper he started in Protection, KS and grew to 800 paying subscribers. Not bad when you consider that the small community where it is based has a population listed at several hundred below that number in the most recent U.S. Census.
In 2013, Greer was presented with the Clyde M. Reed Jr. Master Editor Award by the Kansas Newspaper Hall of Fame. RIP.
[Photo of Greer, right, with his former Garden City Telegram colleague Bob Brown courtesy: Kansas Press Association]