Ford Aubrey Chatters, a Michigan native, moved to California and attended journalism school at USC.
He was an assistant editor of the USC Daily Trojan, selling advertising on the side. This landed him a part-time job with the Hollywood Citizen.
After nearly a year overseas with the American Expeditionary Forces in France during World War I, Chatters became a linotype operator at his uncle’s Lindsay Gazette. Later, as a newspaper and ad man, he still found time to continue his education at USC.
Chatters became editor and publisher of The Gazette in 1945 and acquired total ownership in 1952.
“The state felt his imprint in many other ways, such as when he incorporated the young and southern-oriented California Newspaper Publishers Association and became its president in 1930,” a 1972-73 interviewer wrote. “By much traveling, he expanded it to a statewide organization.”
Earlier, Chatters worked in the California Legislature during the 1921 and 1923 sessions, handled publicity in 1927 for the California Farm Bureau Federation and, during the 1929 session of the Legislature, he handled the news end of the Central Valley Water Project.
As a member of the Assembly of the State of California, from 1933 to 1936, he was one of the coauthors of the Central Valley Water Act.
He was appointed to the State Board of Education for a four-year term in 1937, and was named a temporary member of the State Personnel Board in 1943.
Chatters became a member of the Board of Trustees for the College of the Pacific in 1945, was secretary of the California Highway Commission in 1946–1947, and in 1947 and again in 1957 was reappointed to a full 10-year term on the State Personnel Board.
For Chatters, the Lindsay Gazette was more than a livelihood. He made it a community service organ. One of the things that carried great weight was his analysis of the ballot propositions and his recommendation for voting on them. Even though Chatters was a staunch Republican, the news in The Gazette was nonpartisan. And even after the paper was sold, the new owners came to him for background knowledge about local and state matters.
Chatters found time to be active in a multitude of other activities, including helping to organize the Orange Belt Scenic Highway Association, the promotion of the Orange Blossom Festival, the Boy Scouts and YMCA councils, and the Lindsay Kiwanis Club, He sold the Gazette to Roy Brock in 1964 but exercised a keen interest in its operations until his death on April 10, 1974.
The Lindsay Gazette was incorporated into The Sun-Gazette Newspaper in Exeter in 2003.
*Hall of Fame inductees are selected annually by a committee appointed by the California Press Foundation. They recognize career achievements of weekly and daily publishers in California who were important and influential in their era, as judged by their peers in the association. The write-ups are a historical and journalistic snapshot in time and not official biographies.*