Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.

BLAIR BEDIENT AND THE ALBION EVENING RECORDER

Morning Star, April 21, 2013, pg. 14

The Albion Evening Recorder newspaper certainly was a major source of daily news for our community during the 20th century. The Bedient family guided the paper for most of that time. Jack Bedient (1902-1978) became a partner in the paper in 1928, then part-owner in 1939, and full owner in 1952. The paper was later continued by his son Blair. The newspaper business was quite different back then compared to today. There were no computers, and news was gathered manually by reporters who went on the streets to gather it. The printing process was an elaborate one which included an old World War I-era linotype machine that was retired in June, 1955.

With the recent death of Blair Bedient on April 4, Albion has lost a link to a bygone era when people looked to the newspaper as their window to the world around us. Blair cared about our community, and his editorials reflected his concerns and observations about Albion and surrounding area. As he remarked in his October 1, 1977 editorial, "I’ve spent most of my life in this fine community and a good share of my waking hours at The Recorder, and I remember a lot of fine people and events that happened…The Recorder and Albion have been most fortunate to have many dedicated people on the staff of this newspaper over the last 40 years of my memory."

The Albion Evening Recorder was a great reference source. There were specific columns which contained information that would be prohibited today, such as the "Hospital Notes" which named a person who was admitted to the hospital and then printed their home address, or printing the name of a person who had been arrested before they were charged with the crime. The words "a subject, a person, a male suspect" were rarely used; instead, full names were printed, for everyone to read. My, how times have changed.

The Albion Evening Recorder provided employment to many persons over the years in various positions. There was an editorial department, an advertising department, a printing department, a composition department, a job printing department, and other positions which were bustling with activity for many years. There even was a large group of paper boys who delivered the paper along specific routes, six days a week.

After the paper was sold by the family in 1989, the subsequent changes made reflected the volatile state of the newspaper business as the computer age gradually took over. A reduced source of advertising revenues resulted in departments being downsized and consolidated, or eliminated altogether. The Recorder had been one of the smallest dailies in the State of Michigan before it reverted back to a weekly in October, 2001.

The Bedients had made sure that the State of Michigan Library in Lansing had microfilm copies of the Recorder for future historians to reference Albion on a state-wide level. That practice was discontinued by the new owners a few years after their purchase. Thus sadly there are no Recorders on microfilm after 1991 in Lansing, nor are there current copies of the Recorder found on its newspaper room shelves today, unlike other papers from all over the state which fill the shelves of the newspaper room with their current editions.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a 1954 photo of the advertising department of the Albion Evening Recorder, managed by Blair Bedient (1927-2013). Front row: Blair Bedient and Nick Costianes. In the back row are office clerks: Thelma Lamphier, Mary Ellen Shepherd, and Lora Broas. How many of our readers ever worked at the Albion Evening Recorder?


1954 photo of the advertising department of the Albion Evening Recorder

Next: Albion 100 Years Ago - May 1913


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