Cosner leaving newspaper after 47 years

PARKERSBURG – After nearly five decades with The Parkersburg News and Sentinel, longtime retail advertising sales representative Daryl Cosner retired Friday.

Cosner joined the advertising staff of the newspaper on Nov. 8, 1965, and worked for 47 years and three months, serving area businesses, large and small.

Born in Washington, D.C., he moved to Parkersburg at age 4 and graduated from Parkersburg High School about six months before being hired by the newspaper.

Jim Spanner, publisher of The News and Sentinel, talked about Cosner’s contributions during a retirement party held in Cosner’s honor Friday at the newspaper office.

“Daryl will be missed,” Spanner said. “He has been a great representative of The Parkersburg News and Sentinel for 47 years. He has been a face of the paper out in the community. The way he treats people and handles customers should be an example for everyone. He will be missed,” he said.

“It’s been wonderful being a part of this organization for all of these years,” Cosner said Friday.

Cosner said he has enjoyed his years working with the newspaper and has seen a lot of changes, especially in the technologies used by newspaper advertising departments and the community in general. When he began, everything was done by hand using ink, lead pieces and other items.

“We used table saws to cut the plates,” he said.

Cosner was hired as a proof runner for the newspaper. That meant it was his job to take the larger ads that had been hand-created at the newspaper and physically carry them to the businesses buying the ads for approval and corrections, and then bring those back to the office to be printed in the newspaper.

That is a big contrast from the computer and digital technology of today, which allows much of the work to be done from a person’s desk, electronically sent and returned.

“I still find it so hard to believe what we can create on these computer screens,” he said.

Four years after joining the newspaper, Cosner moved into advertising sales and remained there for more than 40 years, until his retirement.

Cosner said a humorous story involved his first experience learning about that new piece of technology, the fax machine. At some point in the early 1970s, a customer called with an ad that needed to get in right away.

“I said, ‘OK, how can you get it here?’ and he asked, ‘Do you have a facsimile machine?’ I said, ‘No, what’s a facsimile machine?’ and he said, ‘It’s a device that we send printed material through the phone lines.'”

Cosner said his mouth dropped open because he couldn’t imagine how something like that would work. However, within six months the newspaper was using fax machines as part of its daily operations.

While the technology and the ways in which the work was done changed dramatically during his career, Cosner said the heart of his work remained the same, serving his customers and their needs.

He doesn’t have any immediate plans for retirement. Cosner said he will just relax for a few weeks and then take a look at what he wants to do, possibly including some travel and volunteering his time with activities and programs he enjoys.

News and Sentinel advertising director Matt Tranquill said Cosner will be missed by the newspaper and the community.

“The Parkersburg News and Sentinel is losing a very loyal and trusted employee. He’s always been the first person to help an employee or customer. He truly will be missed around the office,” he said.