The Folks Behind Yore Town

Yore Town founders are Sharon Hill and Kevin Hill. Sharon is a former newspaper advertising manager, business management author and media consultant, and currently serves as sales and marketing manager for Suburban Newspapers of America, a trade association of community newspapers  in the U.S. and Canada.

President of Yore Town,  Sharon is a native of Binghamton NY. She spent nearly two decades working for newspapers, primarily in advertising and advertising management.  Her employers included McClatchy Company, Central Newspapers  and Ottaway Newspapers.  At Topics Newspapers in Fishers IN she was Classified Advertising Manager. She then served as Product Manager for the Indianapolis-area Employment Weekly.  She later spent five years consulting for and writing about newspapers and media vendors as Writer/Analyst for The AIM Group , a media consultancy. She also owned her own writing/editing and advertising copywriting company called DeScribe.  

 

With a DeScribe client, former President of the National Employment Counseling Association Bill Fenson,  Sharon co-authored “Implementing and Managing Telework: a Guide for Those who Make it Happen,” published by Praeger Press.  She has written for numerous sites and publications that include Blue Ridge Business Journal, HR.Com , the Aiken (SC) Standard and Retirement Lifestyles of the Carolinas magazine.  For over three years she wrote Classified Intelligence Case Studies newsletter about best practices in the media industry. She is owner of NewspaperTiger, a blog about online media and community newspapers.

 

Kevin Hill, VP of Operations for Yore Town , was born in Anchorage Alaska and raised in Sacramento CA. He is a former navy aviations electronics and database wizard who now studies network administration and custom designs personal computers.

 

Both have a vision of helping struggling communities and residents; both view Yore Town as a way for community newspapers, other media and historically-focused agencies to provide something valuable to their community while increasing traffic and even advertising / sponsorship revenue.

 

Yore Town is honored to have some very distinguished and devoted professionals and oral-history devotees on its Advisory Committee. They are:

 

·    Perri Collins, Communications Director, Arizona Newspapers Association, www.ananews.com

  Dee Dees, personal historian,  author,  and speaker, www.LifeStoryLady.com

·    Janet DeGeorge – long time media classified trainer and co-owner of RealPeopleRealStuff and Video Job Shop.

  Cathy Droz, co-owner, www.TwoForTheRoadUSA.com, former auto ad agency exec, talk show host

  Laurie Hosken – Vendor manager for DHL, proficient Web writer and editor,  former call center supervisor.

  Stephen Stout, former Marketing Manager for Cox Communications and news editor for Scottsdale and East Valley Tribunes.

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High School Students Learn about Oral History

The Los Angeles Times told this story recently, also presented at the annual conference of the Southwest Oral History Association. Cal State Los Angeles teamed up with student volunteers from Roosevelt High School to film a documentary of personal stories of five influential local women. The photo is courtesy of LA Times as well.

It is our hope and dream that high school and college students in the Phoenix area will take a similar interest in personal stories of the community members of metro Phoenix and help us record and tell their stories on Yore Town for others to see and hear.

Ofelia Esparza, 77, altar-maker and artist

Ofelia Esparza, 77, altar-maker and artist

Digitizing Oral History – What I learned in Waco

The Baylor University Future Perfect workshop was an amazing experience. I learned all the technical details about choosing digital history equipment such as recorders and microphones, but I also made some great contacts.

One of the first resources mentioned at the workshop was H-Oralhist, a network for scholars and professionals active in studies related to oral history. It is affiliated with the Oral History Association.

H-Oralhist

H-Oralhist

 

I met Esther Camacho, visiting Assistant Professor at Texas A&M Kingsville, and Sandra Rexroad, Director of the University’s South Texas Archives and Special Collections.   I had lunch with two administrators at the Round Rock, TX library who are overseeing the daunting task of preserving through digitization the archived publications of the local Round Rock Leader newspaper.  I heard several presentations of unique oral history projects, which I’ll be talking about at length in later posts.

I also got some time to explore Waco and Baylor University. I walked its campus extensively, and spent two great hours at the Texas Ranger Museum. If you’re ever in Waco don’t miss this!

Yore Town Advisory Committee

We’re in the process of creating an advisory committee to help create the most robust and useful oral history site we can offer local communities. We anticipate a committee of approximately ten members, and welcome anyone interested to email Sharon Hill at communitynewspapers@gmail.com. Historians / history educators , radio and TV executives and accounting professionals especially welcome.

Committee members so far:

  • Perri Collins, Communications Director, Arizona Newspapers Association, www.ananews.com
  • Dee Dees, personal historian,  author,  and speaker, www.LifeStoryLady.com
  • Cathy Droz, co-owner, www.TwoForTheRoadUSA.com, former auto ad agency exec, talk show host
  • Laurie Hosken – recently was vendor manager for DHL, proficient Web writer and editor,  former call center supervisor. http://www.linkedin.com/in/lauriehosken
  • Amy Rabinovitz, marketing consultant and media guru, http://getrealmarketing.blogspot.com
  • Sue Stenberg,  recruitment specialist whose career began with CareerPath (precursor of Careerbuilder) and included Directorship of Business Development for Knight Ridder and of Classifieds for Variety. http://www.linkedin.com/in/suestenberg
  • Stephen Stout, former Marketing Manager for Cox Communications and news editor for Scottsdale and East Valley Tribunes.
  • Mel Taylor,  local media consultant and online revenue strategist , www.meltaylor.wordpress.com
  • Jim Townsend,  news and Web guru, Editorial Director for The AIM Group media consultancy.  www.aimgroup.com
  • John Zappe, long time Internet and recruitment specialist, former online executive for Los Angeles Newspaper Group, writer/editor for media consultancy Classified Intelligence, and current media consultant.

Yore Town Inspiration – Oral History so Vital

downtown Binghamton NY

downtown Binghamton NY

 When my father became ill a few years back I returned to my hometown, Binghamton NY, to help my brother care for dad. I was there four years, during which I started to write a nostalgic column for a local Web site and the Broome County Senior News. Written about New York’s Southern Tier area, I called it Tier Jerker, and talked about the history of Binghamton and nearby Broome County areas. I solicited oral history from local residents. I was inundated with these stories, so much so that I had to remove my contact information. I had two years worth of stories already!

Binghamton has a great historical society, with a beautiful new facility in the brand new central library location downtown. I pored through its files and books, coming across several bound volumes of a 1980’s project. Volunteers had visited elderly residents and recorded their stories and then transcribed them into these books. It was amazing stuff – tales recorded nowhere else. One of my favorites was a letter the first employee of what was to be Link Corporation wrote to a couple inquiring about the company’s history.

first Link flight simulator

first Link flight simulator

 Edwin Link invented the first flight simulator, and his company was one of the major employers in the Binghamton area for decades. But its beginning was not auspicious. Edwin Link first decided to try his hand at skywriting advertising. He bought a plane from Albany Airlines and took to the Broome County skies, with large signs, music and a loud speaker system, advertising for clients such as the local Enna Jetticks shoes. This was in the 1920’s , before neon. He hired a man to reach out the plane door and extend the sign, but to get it back in the man had to be held by his legs while he reached precariously and rerolled the sign. It was a dangerous way to make a living. To add to the precariousness of the venture, the only music Link had was the song “How Dry I am” and residents below were starting to complain. It was shortly after that that he decided to create a flight simulator instead.

Another favorite story was an elderly resident who talked about the area’s first African-American professional photographer. The popular Arlington Hotel, a long-time downtown landmark, was the scene of a wedding. The photographer’s flashbulb malfunctioned and burned the drapes, and nearly burned down the hotel.

I realized as I read these stories that if no one had interviewed these folks neither of these stories and many others would ever have been told. For years I hoped to find a way to create my own oral history project. Yore Town will be a culmination of that dream. One I hope to find funding for, so that oral history projects such as the one in my hometown can be created throughout communities everywhere.

photos courtesy of the City of Binghamton Web site and Broome County’s Link Airport.