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John Boston returning to The Signal

Twice-a-week column start Nov. 16 on Daybreak

Posted: November 6, 2008 8:04 p.m.
Updated: November 7, 2008 4:30 a.m.

John Boston's "Mr. SCV" column will return to the pages of The Signal starting Nov. 16.

 
Some people see a newspaper as more than just a finger-blackening conduit for information.

John Boston is one of those people.

“I’ve always thought that The Signal was the very song of the First Amendment,” Boston said. “The heart and soul of the community.

Boston’s “Mr. SCV” column will return to the pages of The Signal starting Nov. 16, appearing Fridays on page A2 and in Sunday’s Opinion section.

Since leaving The Signal earlier this year, Boston, 58, worked on a variety of projects, including a soon-to-be published history of the Santa Clarita Valley.

“I came back because (Signal publisher Ian Lamont) and I talked a lot about the heart and soul at a newspaper,” Boston said. “The Signal always provided a blank canvas. In turn, I respected that and would share a little bit of myself and wisdom that’s been passed down to me.”

Bringing Boston back was an easy call for Lamont.

“I spent much of my first two months at The Signal talking to our readers and community leaders,” Lamont said. “No matter the subject, it seemed every conversation ended the same way — ‘Bring back John Boston.’”

Boston’s career with The Signal began some 40 years ago as a freelance sports writer. In those days the newspaper was headquartered in a compound of boxy, maroon bungalows along Railroad Avenue in Newhall.

In the early 1970s, Boston recalled, when then-sports editor Phil Lanier resigned, “I thought I was the natural shoo-in.”

It was during an interview for the job that Publisher Ruth Newhall told the young journalist: “You know, I never liked you. But there’s no one dumb enough to take the job.”

In 1974 he started writing a regular sports column as part of his editorial duties. He said it was nine months before he heard a “not bad” from Newhall.

In the years that followed, Boston said the two would become close friends.

“The Newhalls always gave me the opportunity to succeed or fail miserably,” he said over breakfast at downtown Newhall’s Way Station Coffee Shop, a favorite Boston haunt.

At the end of his first year as sports editor, Boston said the sports section netted an award for best sports page in the state in The Signal’s circulation category.

It was the first of many feathers in his hat. His current tally is 117 state and national writing awards.

Born in Springfield, Mass., Boston has spent the past 50 years here, watching the Santa Clarita Valley shape-shift from a Los Angeles outpost with 5,000 people and no stoplights to “a small town with a quarter of a million people.

“I feel I have a gift to lighten hearts and I love doing that.”

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