|Chapter VII, A Brief History of Newspapers in East Liverpool, Ohio, by the late Glenn H. Waight, former editor of The Evening Review.|
The Sound Of The Horn
Undoubtedly the most notable Review newsroom chief was Clayton G. Horn who was dispatched to East Liverpool in 1935 to replace Frank O'Harilon. Horn was eventually to become executive editor of Brush-Moore and a major public influence figure in Northeast Ohio.
"Clayt," who died at 87 in August 1993, was an outspoken, hard-nosed journalist responsible in great part for the founding of the Professional Football Hall of Fame at Canton and bringing other major programs and projects to this region.
He had come here from the Canton Repository to revitalize and revamp The Review. The late Art Thomas, who later became editor, was on the staff then, and recalled Horn as a demanding boss who would accept only quality news coverage.
Stocky, large-headed with a pencil-thin mustache, Horn was quickly angered by mistakes, failures, incompetence and injustice. He vented his reaction with loud, often profanity-filled condemnation, but seemingly never held a grudge against any victim who profited from his rhetoric.
Although sometimes brusque and noisy, he was also gracious, considerate and congenial, with countless tales about politics and newspapers. The young Art Thomas regarded him with awe and fear. As wire editor under him, Art wrote headlines for the Associated Press stories. Horn worked with printers to make up the pages in the composing room and remembered Horn often rejecting Art's headlines as too short or too long or not quite accurate until they were right.
Art obtained his first newspaper experience as an Ohio University intern at the Athens, Ohio, daily, but it was Horn who taught him the special art of writing headlines.
Printers also had their problems with the autocratic editor who ordered changes in make-up or in production to which they were not accustomed.
HORN JOINED the city Kiwanis Club, and was elected president in 1939. Typical of a firm belief in fairness was his stand backing admittance of the first Jewish member of the club. He reportedly threatened to resign if the physician were not accepted, and he had his way.
(I'm not sure when the tradition began of editors joining the Kiwanis Club and business managers/publishers joining Rotary. Art Thomas and Jim Smith, a Lions Club transfer, were among the few exceptions. I began covering Kiwanis as a reporter in toe 1950s and became a member in 1965.)
Horn hired a teen-aged Bob Popp in 1938, seeing in him the promise of a talented and literate reporter. Bob came to regard Horn as a minor deity in the Olympus of the Press, and after Bob's death Clayt told me the young Popp almost wept when Horn returned to Canton.
Both Popp and Thomas recounted many tales of the four years Horn spent in the newsroom here and later at the "Repository." I did not become acquainted with him until 1967 when I was appointed editor and he was the chain's executive editor. By then he had mellowed, but still made caustic telephone calls or mailed terse yellow memo paper criticisms or suggestions about the news operation.
Horn, born at Bellevue, Ohio, was graduated from Western Reserve University in 1928 - the year he married Juanita Schwenn of Norwalk and joined The Repository as a sports writer.
He moved up to beat reporter, then assistant city editor, and in 1935 was sent to East Liverpool as managing editor. In 1939 he was back in Canton as managing editor of "The Rep," then editor-in-chief. In 1957 Horn was named executive editor of the Brush-Moore chain of 12 dailies and weeklies extending from Maryland to California.
He effectively used the broad voter readership of the newspapers as a political fulcrum, leveraging state and national officials along with business and industrial leaders to follow his lead.
He was said to have once picked up his telephone, called Ohio Gov. James Rhodes and directed him to be in Horn's office the next day to discuss a problem. Rhodes was there, admitting later that he generally came at Horn's summons. 'He was in the middle of it all," Rhodes said, adding that whenever he needed Horn's support, he got it.
That kind of forceful approach and cooperation with others helped found the Pro Football Hall of Fame -- Horn serving as vice chairman from its inception in 1962 untit he retired in 1992.
On one occasion he hurried to Columbus upon learning that a planned relocation of Route 30 was to be south of Canton, and he successfully pressed to have it run through the city. Interstate Route 77 was also routed to Canton as was the Stark County Technical School in similar fashion.
HORN SERVED on the Kent State University board of trustees for many years, and worked to make the Northeastern Ohio Medical School a reality. He also held trustee posts with Walsh College and Malone College.
For four years after Thomson's purchase of the Brush-Moore chain, Horn remained executive editor of the newspapers, retiring in 1971. Art Thomas and I drove to Canton one snowy night for Clay's retirement party at the Onesta Hotel. Almost all the former Brush-Moore editors and publishers were present to wish him well, including Denny Raridan and Bill Vodrey.
A fine shotgun was presented to him as a gift, accompanied with jokes about its future use. Just three years ago, before his death, I talked to him on the phone and mentioned the shotgun. He confessed he'd almost forgotten it, didn't know exactly were it was, hadn't hunted in years.
When I called him to report Bob Popp's passing, he was genuinely saddened. He and Bob had maintained a regular correspondence, and each had high respect and fondness for the other.
Bob's death had inspired me to begin writing a history of the city's newspapers and the men and women who made some of them notable. I asked Horn to supply what he could about his days with Brush-Moore. He corrected some of my copy, and we were arranging a meeting at which he could detail his many experiences.
I was about to mail him a letter when I learned he had been found dead of an apparent heart attack at his home near Canton. Gone was another bond to my days at a news desk, lost was another main player in the drama of political power and exciting print journalism.
To be continued