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This profile was last updated on 7/1/04  and contains information from public web pages.

Charles W. Baum

Wrong Charles W. Baum?

Employment History

  • Staff Writer
    Trenton Trentonian
  • Owner and Editor
  • Staff Writer and Associate Editor
  • Reference Assistant
    Pierce Library
  • Staff Writer
    Delco Times
  • Staff Writer


  • bachelor , journalism-printing management
  • s degree , journalism-printing management
    Rochester Institute of Technology
12 Total References
Web References
Montgomery Newspapers, 1 July 2004 [cached]
By Charles W. Baum, Staff writer
Headlines & Deadlines: PNA's Weekly Newsletter, 8 Sept 2004 [cached]
Charles W. Baum remembers quite vividly his start in the newspaper business , but unlike most journalists, his first memory isn,t of his first published story.He was way too young for that.
Baum, whose family owned the News-Herald, started working at the paper as a youngster, coming in every day after school to do chores like sweeping the floors, cleaning the toilets, and picking cigarette butts out of the lead on the floor in the production area so the lead could be re-melted and reused on the press.
Little Charlie was an ,errand boy,, too, and one of his favorite jobs was getting snacks for ,the guys in the shop., He,d run across the street to Mark Fehr,s store and pick up Cokes and candy and TastyKakes and, sometimes, egg sandwiches.
,I literally grew up in the business,, Baum said in a recent interview. ,I enjoyed the folks I worked with out in the shop , and the whole newspaper thing.,
Baum, 55, left the newspaper business this month as he prepares to campaign for the office of magisterial district judge in Perkasie.
The Baum family was associated with the paper for almost 90 years.
Baum,s grandfather, also named Charles, purchased the Central News in 1914, and built the Central News building next to the old Perkasie firehouse at Seventh and Arch streets in 1920.His son, Carlton, joined the business in the 1930s and served as business manager and publisher until his death in 1982.
Charlie remembers those days well. ,Every Wednesday afternoon, we were totally focused on nothing but getting the paper out , hopefully on time,, he said.
Sometimes it got a little crazy, he recalls, but his mother kept the boys (back then, they were all boys) in line. ,For a lot of them, this was their first job,, he said, noting they,d often come in ,all wound up, after school but his mother kept the circulation end of the operation running smoothly.
At the time, though, young Charlie was more impressed with the carriers than he was by his mother,s skill. ,It was cool to be able to hang out with the older guys,, he said. ,I thought, ,That,s the next step up.I,d like to be a newsboy., ,
Of course, he got his wish.He started by standing out front of the building hawking papers to passing motorists , ,I had to try to make change for a quarter,, he laughed , and later ,I advanced to a real paperboy.,
He covered his route on his bicycle or with a wagon, delivering newspapers from Third Street down into South Perkasie.
Baum grew up knowing he,d make a career in the newspaper business, but admits now that ,I thought I,d be more in the production end, since I grew up in the shop, and had more mechanical training.,
A 1967 graduate of Pennridge High School, he learned more aspects of the business while earning a bachelor,s degree in journalism-printing management from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1971.Although he flirted with a job offer from the production department of the Wall Street Journal, he opted to return to Perkasie and the News-Herald after graduation.
The late J. Rollin ,Buzz, Cressman was sitting at the editor,s desk at the time, but getting ready to retire.Cressman taught Baum the editorial side of the business and prepared him to take over the editor,s duties.
Meanwhile, Baum married his college sweetheart, the former Dawn Warner of Gettysburg, who was a business retailing major and now works part time as reference assistant at Pierce Library.They became the parents of two children: Amanda, now 26 and teaching ninth-grade algebra in the Central Bucks School District, and Tim, now 23 and a customer service manager for Sussman Honda.Although they both were newspaper carriers, neither was interested in a newspaper career.
The News-Herald was more than just a newspaper business; it was a commercial printing business, too, printing wedding invitations, letterheads, business cards, forms and more.
Baum and his father worked together from 1971 until 1982, when Carlton died and Charlie inherited all of the jobs: publisher, president, business manager and editor of the News-Herald.He covered meetings and sports events and did design and layout work on each week,s issue, and also worked with the commercial printing end, doing sales, customer service, ordering supplies, and more.
The office moved to a building on Seventh Street near Park Avenue, and employed about 10 people in the production department, or ,shop,, as well as two advertising sales representatives and a couple of office workers.
,We just sort of went along by the seat of our pants,, explained Baum, who regularly worked 60- to 70-hour weeks.
While there was a staff photographer, Baum was an editorial ,staff of one, for quite a few years until he hired a sports editor , who was also responsible for writing a Know Your Community story each week , and after his father,s death, hired John Gerner as news editor.
As technology changed, the printing of the newspaper was contracted out, first to the Reporter in Lansdale, and then to Montgomery Newspapers in Fort Washington, but the commercial printing was still done in Perkasie.
The community didn,t change a whole lot, Baum said, until after the Perkasie fire in 1988. ,There were the same merchants, the same advertisers,, he reflected.
But after the fire, which started at Shelley,s lumberyard and destroyed a number of businesses in downtown Perkasie, ,stores started closing up,, Baum said.,That really hurt us in the newspaper business,, he said. ,A lot of our longtime and prime advertisers were going by the wayside , a lot of good, local merchants [left].
,One by one they closed , and eventually, we had to follow them.,
As car dealers and grocers left the area, and banks and stores merged, the paper lost more and more advertisers , its ,bread and butter,, Baum said.Eventually, the publisher came to accept the prevailing philosophy: that ,everybody had to get bigger or you weren,t going to survive.
,It took me some years to come to accept that that would happen,, Baum said, adding that if his father were still alive, ,I think he would have said, ,Hey, if you want this paper to survive, you,d better do it., ,
In 1998 the Baum family sold the newspaper to Montgomery Newspapers and the printing operation to Labelcraft.The building on Seventh Street was sold to Prodesco Inc., and the staff of the News-Herald joined the staff of the Souderton Independent (also part of Montgomery Newspapers) at the office on Route 113 at County Line Road.
Charlie Baum , also known as ,Chuck,, ,CB,, ,Baumie, and other nicknames throughout the community , remained with the News-Herald as a staff writer and associate editor.
Headlines & Deadlines: PNA's Weekly Newsletter, 29 Nov 2007 [cached]
Charlie Baum, former owner and editor of the News-Herald who worked with McClennen for seven years after selling the paper to Montgomery Newspapers, agreed that McClennen's dedication went above and beyond the call of duty.
"It's a tough job managing one paper, let alone two," said Baum. " And she dedicated the past nine years of her life to both the News-Herald and Souderton Independent without concern for the many hours, nights and weekends that it took to put out a good product weekly."
"She was a tireless extremely hard worker with impeccable journalism ethics," said Baum.
Montgomery Newspapers, 2 June 2004 [cached]
Charles W. Baum , Staff writer
Montgomery Newspapers, 14 July 2004 [cached]
By: Charles W. Baum, Staff writer
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