Newspaper marks 75th anniversary
The banner headline across the first issue of the Jefferson Park Press and Shopping Guide on May 1, 1940 read, "HERE IS YOUR NEW NEWSPAPER!"
Later renamed Chicago’s Northwest Side Press, the newspapers is celebrating its 75th anniversary as part of the Nadig Newspapers’ community newspapers. The cost of the newspapers was 3 cents, and the front page featured ads from Wolke & Kotler Department Store, Gronau Pharmacy, Golden Slipper, Portes Drug Store and John Krohn Company.
According to a story in the first issue, community journalism flourished in the 1920s, but the Great Depression hurt the industry as the advertising budgets for local stores shrank.
At the same time larger corporations were taking over the industry and were publishing newspapers in communities where they had no local office and few personal connections to the neighborhood, the article stated. The first office for the Press was on the second floor above the Annes Department Store, 4814 N. Milwaukee Ave.
"Your co-operation in making this a newsworthy publication will be appreciated, and all acceptable items will be published as far as available space permits," Press founding publisher Morton Steinman wrote. "Your continued support of our efforts and likewise your firm criticism when you think we are wrong is invited in a true neighborly sense, to the end that our efforts to serve this community will find widened support."
A listing on the front page reported that the Press would serve the neighborhoods Jefferson Park, Rosedale, Forest Glen, Sauganash, Gladstone Park, Mayfair and Edgebrook. The circulation of the Press later was increased to cover the neighborhoods of Portage Park, Norwood Park and Belmont-Central, and in 1965 the publishers of the Press began publishing the Reporter newspaper, which covers the Edgebrook, Sauganash and areas in Lincolnwood, Niles and Skokie.
The cost to print and distribute an edition of the Press in 1940, including salaries, rent and telephone expenses, was $368, which today does not cover the cost of one page of the newspaper.
Nadig Newspapers co-publisher Glenn Nadig, a graduate of Steinmetz High School, started working at the Press in 1958, and he and his wife, Bette Nadig, a graduate of Taft High School, later purchased the newspaper.
The couple met at a high school dance, and they were married in 1955. Their son Brian Nadig joined the family business in the late 1980s and became co-publisher in 1995, and their other son David Nadig is deputy general counsel for Allstate Insurance Company in Northbrook.
Glenn, Bette and Brian Nadig each have each served as president of the Jefferson Park Chamber of Commerce, and Glenn Nadig continues to serve on the board of three area chambers. Brian Nadig is the vice president of the Jefferson Park and Gladstone Park chambers and the Jefferson Park Sunday Market Group. Bette Nadig, who died in 1995 after a long battle with cancer, ran business fairs, sidewalk sales and art fairs for several chambers and started a scholarship program for area students.
Glenn Nadig’s brother Ralph Nadig worked as the circulation manager of the newspaper until his retirement 5 years ago, and editor Randy Erickson, political columnist Russ Stewart and editorial cartoonist Ken Klopack have been with Nadig Newspapers since the 1970s.
In 2015 Nadig Newspapers is not only celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Press, but the 50th anniversary of Reporter, which was first published on May 3, 1965.
Photographs and articles about the histories of the two newspapers and of the Northwest Side will be featured periodically during the next year. More information is available on our Facebook page and at www.nadignewspapers.com.