The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

May 24, 2013

Saying goodbye to a good friend


DANVILLE — Our Commercial-News family sadly says goodbye today to a 40-year veteran of local journalism, Dennis Bartlow, who passed away Tuesday in his home.

A lot of reporters have come and gone through the Commercial-News’ newsroom during the past 40 years, and chances are every one of them remembers Dennis, no matter how brief their stay might have been.

A native of Montezuma, Ind., Dennis brought a native’s sense of place and history. He knew everyone, and it seemed as though everyone knew him.

He started when newspapers still used typewriters and special machines to receive Associated Press copy. He retired in a time of social media and instant accessibility to the news.

Through it all, Dennis remained committed to the basic tenets of good journalism — be sure you’re accurate, be sure you’re fair and have a sense of curiosity about everything.

He applied those principles to every story, whether it was an in-depth look at a news issue or an advance for a fair or festival in his beloved Indiana.

He was know to spontaneously break into Christmas carols while working in the newsroom, and was notorious for having a desk almost as messy as the ones in the Sports department.

Dennis was committed to his church, First Presbyterian, here in Danville, and remained active in many of its activities. And he talked often of his role in the National Classical League, an organization committed to teaching Latin in high schools.

In these days of celebrity journalists, Dennis was from the old school. He cultivated sources. He made phone calls, but preferred face-to-face interviews. And, even though computers often befuddled him, he turned in his copy on time.

Reporters of his caliber are few and far between these days.

We’re going to miss him much.