As he carefully pulled the centuries old Boston Gazette out of its plastic sleeve to show the texture of the cotton paper, Emmanuel Paraschos takes his visitors behind the scenes of his creation, the Boston Journalism Trail.
“I was born into a family of journalists who owned a small chain of newspapers in Athens. I never wanted to do anything else; I have ink in my veins,” said Paraschos.
Forced to leave his home in Athens, Greece due to a coup d’etat, Paraschos came to America looking to continue his passion for journalism.
After teaching at the Missouri School of Journalism, University of Arkansas and now Emerson College, Sage Publishers asked Paraschos to write a book chapter on the history of journalism in Boston.
“I had just arrived here, so I took it on. I thought it was a great idea and when I started looking around, sure enough, five of the seven first newspapers in America were published here in Boston,” said Paraschos.
“I took it upon myself to find out where they were located because we have the Freedom Trail and the Women’s History Trail, so I said that this was a unique opportunity: the Journalism Trail,” he added.
After locating 39 historical journalism sites in Boston and collecting over 50 newspapers and magazines, Paraschos constructed a book that shows people where the journalism industry began in Boston.
“I created a little booklet to give out for free to those at a conference and it got great reviews, great reports, people were really impressed. I put it online and it got 495,000 hits from all over the world,” said Paraschos.
After a lifetime of journalism and journalism education, Paraschos has decided to retire, but intends to leave a token of wisdom with his students and staff before his departure.
He decided to leave all of the historical newspapers collected while researching the trail at Iwasaki Library at Emerson College as a way for his name to be remembered.
“It is slightly a personal decision, not academic or scholarly. I wanted to leave something to the department in my name,” said Paraschos. “All of these are going to be left at the library, our library, so future teachers will be able to use them and students will be able to touch and feel them.”
Paraschos continues to spread his knowledge of Boston’s journalism history, offering up one more fact.
“That’s the last big thing I learned about this project: Who would have thought that the pledge of allegiance was written by a Boston journalist,” he said.