COLES COUNTY NEWS:

THE GATHERERS AND THE REPORTING

CLASSIC VERSION

 
News Reporters
A Tradition for Central Illinois
Arthur Lynch & Lee Lynch
1937-- The Beginning   
The little radio station at Tuscola was beckoning new talent to "come up and work."  Lee Lynch took them up and started a weekly news show, billing himself as the Coles County Reporter.
    Lee Lynch was a very popular and well known radio announcer and later

Illinois State Representative for Coles County

 
    Lee's current employer, newspaper publisher, Benjamin Weir, of the Charleston Courier hit the ceiling.  Lee resigned the Courier and moved to the Daily News to work for a new publisher, John Rardin.  This is the first example in Coles County, Illinois of a newspaper writer switching to the new wireless medium, and getting in trouble for it.  No doubt local stations all over the country had to compete with the printed medium.  A little competition for any business is good!  Even when the second Coles County Reporter would do her early morning programs, the Courier editor would listen in and "borrow" her headlines.  Here's some photos and stories of these interesting pioneers of local radio news reporting:  Lee Lynch and Louise (Lynch) Taylor.  Their careers would run from 1937 through the late 1960's.

 

 The Coles County Reporter Tradition Starts
Lee Lynch, Charleston  (Coles County) Native  
Moves from Print to  the New Radio
"Coles County Marches On"

 


   
   
News was personal!
    Local news reporting during the early years seemed to be very personal.  People's lives were a showcase and even if a listener didn't know who the person was, they could celebrate or mourn with them just like they would if they were related or friends.  The Depression ruled many lives during the 1930's, and then the "Big War" would rule during the first half of the 40's.  There was no TV to distract families and listeners.  Family, church and the radio were major elements in this period's family life and entertainment in Central Illinois.

News & Events will show more of Lee's News Columns

 

The Golden Age of Radio

    Let's start this journey of the dynasty of the Lynches of Charleston, Illinois, with the pre-radio generation.   This family had connections with news reporting and radio from the earliest days.  The Story starts about 1897 with the career 0f Art Lynch.

  Arthur Lynch's longevity alone would amaze the average early retiree.  Art would start gathering news for the Charleston Courier in 1901.  In a 1945 Eastern State News interview Art Lynch told the story of how he helped build "Old Main," the original building of the present Eastern Illinois University in 1896.  Art had a near fall from the high walls and decided a more grounded occupation would be safer.  Art would witness Tom & Alex (fire horses of the new Charleston Fire Department), as well as the start of of Eastern State College.  He was originally hired by C.L. Lee, Charleston Courier publisher in 1901,  to "go up to the railroad depot to see who was coming and going."  For ten years he would report on daily happenings in Charleston.   He would then move to the position of City Editor and do that until his death in 1951. 

 

The News Gathering "Family Tradition" would start with Arthur Lynch at the turn of the 20th Century.  He would become City Editor for the Charleston Courier for fifty-one years.  His son, Lee would work with newspaper news throughout his career, but would break into radio at WDZ in the 1930's.

       Arthur Lynch (3rd from left in back row with the white shirt and tie) seen listening to important matters at Charleston City Council meeting of  sometime around 1910.  Reporting requires field work to gather news while it happens.
    Arthur was a living history reference of the city of Charleston.   One thing different about his philosophy and delivery of news, was that of maintaining a neutral stand on issues.  Editorials would not be his personal feature, as with the other newspapers of Charleston at the time (the Daily News and the Plain Dealer)