With nearly four decades under her belt, longtime Marshall News Messenger business manager Dana Morton retired Aug. 30 after a fulfilling career.
“It was a pleasure to work with Dana. She knew her business and was very efficient at her job,” said News Messenger Publisher Jerry Pye.
“I’ve really enjoyed learning different parts of the job and I’ve worked with some really good people,” said Morton, who invested almost 38 years at the local newspaper.
In fact, she’s part of a group of former coworkers, who affectionately call themselves the “Newsies.” They’ve all become friends.
“We meet as often as we can,” said Morton. “They are all former MNM employees … some going back to the year I started.”
Hired in November 1981, Morton started out in the classified department.
“They ran an ad in the paper,” she chuckled, “and I was looking for a job, and so I came and interviewed.
“I interviewed with the classified manager and then I interviewed with the advertising director, and then I interviewed with the publisher,” she recalled.
After about 18 months, Morton transferred to the business office as the receptionist.
“I went from the receptionist to advertising-billing and then I went to the general ledger bookkeeping,” she said.
In 1991, she was promoted to the title of business manager. Morton said she’s thankful for the career she’s had there.
“I just enjoyed what I was doing and I never was unhappy enough to look for another job; and the company’s always been good to me,” she said.
The flexibility was also a plus for her as a wife and mother.
“It was a very flexible workplace, which is sometimes good when you’re a wife and a mother because you could need to leave at the drop of a hat,” said Morton. “It was just a positive atmosphere.”
Morton said it’s been fascinating for her to see the evolution of the industry throughout the years.
“When I started here they had just started with computers and they had gone to the ‘cold type’ system where they had the machines that printed out the copy and we had a composing room and they had the big tables, the lighted tables, and they laid out the pages there. And we had two or three typesetters that did the ads; and, of course, we had a running press back then and a mail room,” said Morton. “There were like 60 people working here when I came to work here.
“It was a big operation,” she recalled.
The printing of the paper moved to the Longview News Journal plant, when the papers were collectively sold to a new company.
“I’ve been through several sales,” said Morton. “Different companies have bought us so they would make changes.”
The printing press process has always been most fascinating to Morton, whose office was moved a few years ago to the Longview building, following another sale of the sister papers.
“It’s just really interesting to me,” Morton said of the printing press. “Even now when I go to the production department, I’m fascinated by the press.
“And it’s huge, the one in Longview,” she said.
“They do a lot of printing over there,” Morton said, noting how some of the M. Roberts Media LLC.-owned newspapers are printed there, along with other publications.
Morton said now that she’s reached the age to receive her full Social Security, she decided it was time to retire and enjoy more time with her family. She’s also looking forward to doing more leisure traveling.
“My work revolves around specifically the first of the month, and sometimes it’s not easy to plan a trip,” said Morton.
“I’m just ready to be at home,” she said, as she now has great grandchildren she enjoys spending time with.
When asked what she will miss the most about working, Morton said her coworkers.
“I have a good group,” she said. “And there’s good people around me.”
The business has afforded her to be involved in some groundbreaking things in the community, which she’s also enjoyed.
“I’ve done some different kinds of things, working for the paper, because what goes on in the community sometimes we have to participate,” she said. “I was here when the FireAnt Festival started and Wonderland. It was quite the thing for them to put on.
“It’s been fun,” she said.