The White Shoe Irregular:
It was fun while it lasted.

Jim Collins: A Half Century of Journalism

Representative Steven C. LaTourette

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to pay tribute to Jim Collins and his fifty years in journalism.

While Jim has been a journalist for a half century, his interest and employment in newspapers actually dates back to 1941, when he began his career as a News-Herald delivery boy. Jim wasn't even a teenager yet, and the paper cost six cents for twice-weekly delivery. Jim went on to graduate from Willoughby Union High School and Kent State University, and returned to the News-Herald after receiving his degree in June 1950. By then, Jim had shed the title of delivery boy and begun his career as a cub reporter.

Mr. Speaker, I certainly don't wish to draw undue attention to Jim's age, but I think it is worth noting other important milestones of 1950 so folks have some perspective about how long Jim has been a working journalist. The same year Jim became a reporter, Peanuts debuted, Alger Hiss was convicted, the first telephone answering machine was invented, Diner's Club became the first credit card, CBS began broadcasting in color, the first leak-proof ballpoint pen was introduced by PaperMate, Paul Harvey began broadcasting nationally on radio, and Silly Putty was introduced. Back then, it cost 3 cents to mail a letter, gas was twenty cents a gallon, and the average income was about $3,200 a year. My guess is Jim made less than this, however, as journalists certainly don't enter the field for generous paychecks.

Jim stayed at the News-Herald until 1952, when he was drafted for a two-year tour of duty in the U.S. Army. After serving his country with honor, Jim returned to the field of journalism and eventually made it back to his home, the News-Herald. Jim has worked tirelessly since then and quickly ascended to the brass ring of newspaper management. He has been editor of the News-Herald since 1967, and has overseen its tremendous growth and development.

Over the last fifty years, Jim has received many prestigious awards for his writing, and his weekly column is a must-read for anyone who cares about what's happening in the news. He also is about the most prolific commentary writer you're likely to find, and has made his mark by offering common-sense solutions to state, local and national problems. As great as Jim's accomplishments are in journalism, however, they pale in comparison to what he has done for our local communities. As editor of the News-Herald, Jim has had a constant presence in the communities the paper covers, and has always been actively involved in civic and philanthropic activities. He is respected by all who know him.

Mr. Speaker, I feel honored to have known Jim Collins all the years I've been a public servant, and even a few before then. He is one of the most kind, fair, humble and caring men I've ever met. He is an exceptional journalist and an even better man. His word is his honor. On behalf of the Nineteenth Congressional District of Ohio, I congratulate Jim Collins on his fifty years in journalism, and wish him well as he continues to devote his life to the profession he loves so dearly.

[Taken from the Congressional Record, 6 June 2000, page E899.]