Frank Gannett Memorial
This is located tucked into the western ridge of Mt. Hope Cemetery in the fair city of Rochester, NY. It is the grave of Frank E. Gannett, the founder of the Gannett media corporation, which now owns many papers nationwide, the most notable of which is the USA Today, a few local television stations, and some minor digital domains, the most prominent being CareerBuilder.com. ‘Round these parts the dude is most famous for creating the Democrat & Chronicle newspaper.
Babs Biesecker in her article, Remembering World War II: The Rhetoric and Politics of National Commemoration at the Turn of the 21 st Century, posits that the site and nature of memorials have a heavy hand in determining a cultural collective memory concerning a person or event. The Gannett Memorial is not very well known or prominent within the cemetery, but certainly impressive to anyone who stumbles upon it.
In an age where print is slowly shrinking in favor of digital news sources, the anachronistic paperboy on this grave marker may one day be strange as seeing a cobbler. Or a milkman, or other antiquated professions. It’s how Gannett made his fortune, though, and it influenced the lives of thousands of people. Can this memorial let people know that? This suggests we value the achievements of Gannett – but will it hold up to continue to explicate those values? Or will it seep into obscurity as the generations of the future forget what the feel of paper in their hands is like? It lacks anything but the dog chasing the paper boy – ignoring what Gannett Does today and where it will go tomorrow. It’s like those things should be added, but this ought to be puzzling to those casual park goers in the far future. Still, this grave memorializes an entire way of life and thinking in addition to the life of one man – and that should be a strong indication of what many generations valued before we have up on print.