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Thoughts from the Publisher : 1958 Hancock Fire Special Section

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neena-with-hancock-fire.jpgWell, we did it. We went from concept to completed product in 30 days. What am I referring to? I just described the time frame for the special section inserted in today’s edition.
Late last month I came up with the idea to do a historical tribute to those who fought the Hancock Oil Refinery 50 years ago. I was especially motivated to do so when I realized that our paper would actually publish on the exact date of the 50th anniversary—May 22, 2008. I ran the idea past our production and writing staff who, without hesitation, shouted out “let’s go for it!”
The stories were assigned, the photos were gathered, the interviews were conducted, the pages were designed, the advertising was sold, the ads were created and the editorial was copy-edited and placed. All of this took place at break-neck speed and with lots of fast food, soda and coffee close at hand. The overtime hours were tremendous as our dedicated staff went beyond the call of duty to make my vision a reality.
A huge thanks goes out to Bob Shennan, our print representative at Rodgers McDonald who encouraged us to do the section as a broadsheet rather than a tabloid size. He also assisted with the fine-tuning of the color process. His company’s printing staff were so helpful and patient with us when the Monday afternoon deadline was broken minute by minute – hour by hour – we owe them big time.
We also want to thank the folks at city hall–especially Becky Burleson and Ken Farfsing, who provided us with encouragement and support as well as photos and details of the fire – and information regarding the city’s celebration on May 24 (my birthday.) [Read more about this public event on page 7.] Carole Molloy at the Signal Hill library deserves a big kiss for helping us find the original May 1958 issue of the Signal Hill Tribune (a newspaper company we bought seven years ago) which detailed the local angle of the fire. Other offers of thanks go to Chan Brainard, Richard Guttman, and Louis Dare for their photos and comments.
The biggest thanks goes to my staff, especially staff writer Nick Diamantides, and the advertisers who helped pay to make this tribute possible. I couldn’t have done it without you.
On a personal note—I thank my husband and Mom for listening to me drone on about every single detail of the process and every new discovery about the fire. They have been neglected for an entire month, and I will spend the next two months making it up to them. Their support was invaluable during this labor of love.
So now we leave it in your—our readers’—hands. We hope you enjoy what we have created, and we look forward to bringing you other special sections in the future.

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Serving Bixby Knolls, California Heights, Los Cerritos, Wrigley and Signal Hill
Thoughts from the Publisher : 1958 Hancock Fire Special Section