A Publication of The League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham

Published November 2005

Elaine Witt Recalls Eighteen Years at the Birmingham Post Herald

Elaine Witt was the featured speaker at the October LWVGB membership meeting. She spoke of her eighteen years as a local reporter and answered a barrage of questions from the audience.

When Ms. Witt came to work at the Post Herald in 1987, it was Birmingham?s morning newspaper with a daily circulation of 70,000. When it stopped publishing a few weeks ago, its circulation had dropped to 7,000. In 1996, The Birmingham News, which owned the printing presses, took over the morning publication slot and the PH shifted to afternoons. It focused on second-day angles to news stories and hired good writers for feature articles. Witt became a front-page columnist in 1998, where she ?learned the awesome responsibility of writing opinions.? She had freedom in this role and states that her only regrets are the untold stories.

When speaking of the greatest problems facing Greater Birmingham, Witt cites fragmented local governments. Competition for sales taxes causes cities to ?lure Wal-Mart,? creating sprawl and blight in vacated areas. She wonders if the city center can hold together with declining school enrollments.

Ms. Witt said her career with the Post Herald was ?transformational.? She does not plan to pursue another job in print journalism. We will miss her thoughtful columns and the Post Herald?s voice in our community.

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