STEVE INSKEEP, host:
It is Friday morning, which is when we hear from StoryCorps, the project that's traveling the country recording stories, like this next one from Ed Pierce. Mr. Pierce started working for newspapers in the 1940s. That was a heyday for papers, unlike today when they face so many problems.
A newspaper once created a problem for Mr. Pierce, and here he explains to his grandson, Scott Cole, what happened when he was managing editor at the Miami News.
Mr. ED PIERCE: We used to put out a hurricane section, and this was very important in Miami. And then there's a double truck, which is two pages in the newspaper, we had a big map of Florida and all of the islands and Cuba. So that hurricane section was printed and some of the guys were looking through it. And then they called me over. Hey, we got a problem. There's about eight spots on this map that has got the wrong names on the islands. And, of course, there's already printed 500,000 papers. You can't do anything.
And so they all were throwing up their hands, and then I came up with probably my greatest achievement as a managing editor. I sat down and wrote a story and I said, we today, have a hurricane section, and we are going to give a prize of $100 who can find the most mistakes. And a son of a (censored) found six more mistakes than we thought we had.
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Mr. SCOTT COLE: So, was there a certain aspect of newspapers that you liked more than the other?
Mr. PIERCE: I loved the idea of getting out a paper every day. It was a challenge everyday. When my family asked me, did you ever put out a perfect newspaper? And I said, no, I've never put out a newspaper that I couldn't have done a better job if we'd have had another two hours. So, no, I don't think it was ever, a newspaper is never complete, because news is never complete.
Mr. COLE: What do you think is the best advice that you could impart in what you've learned in your 88 years?
Mr. PIERCE: In 88 years, I've learned it's best to not give advice. I think each person has to live their own life, have to make their own decisions. But I would say, if I were going to give it, is to work hard and work for a purpose and not necessarily for money, but for the pleasure of the job you do. And try to enjoy it after you have done it.
So, I never went to work, that to me, it wasn't a lot of fun. And I had a lot of opportunities to do good and to try to print the news and do it accurately and do it honestly.
INSKEEP: That's Ed Pierce with his grandson Scott Cole. This recording will be archived with all StoryCorps interviews, at the American Folk Life Center at the Library of Congress. And you can get the StoryCorps Podcast at NPR.org.
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