Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Breaking News

Opinion

May 10, 2013

JEFF RIGGS: Boy, have newspapers really changed over the years!

ATHENS — How newspapers have changed! And, much of it has to do with modernization through computers.

I remember when I took my first paper job with the Houston Chronicle in 1968. I was a copyboy in the editorial department on the third floor of a 10-story downtown building. There were windows all around on that floor  — I thought at the time it was so you could see if anything was happening.

Of course, all the buildings in downtown Houston had observation windows, so it couldn’t be that. But, as a journalism student at the age of 19, it was fun to believe that it might be for that purpose.

I remember there were several reporters with IBM Selectric typewriters at their desks. Since the electric typewriters were fairly new to the market, there were the old Underwood non-electric classic typewriters still available for those who had not progressed to electrical writing.

When stories were typed and complete, the typewriter paper they were written on was given to an editor, who looked it over for AP style and any other problem that might appear. Then it was given to a set of three assistant editors who would give it the final look, each consulting with the others and making pencil marks for changes.

Then the typewriter paper was sent up an airtube which would send the rolled paper to a department on the third floor called Composition. Later the editor would stroll downstairs to look at plates that would soon go onto presses. He would give the final check.

Then, in the not-too-distant-future, computers were on both editors’ and reporters’ desks. It was in 1980 when I was working at the Deer Park Broadcaster/-Progress that I was using an IBM Selectric. The publisher came over to my desk carrying an Apple computer with a screen about eight inches wide by six inches deep. He told me to put the Selectric in the back room and that I should read the instruction book to the new Apple now on my desk.

Not only could you write your stories and proof stories on the screen of the Apple, you could also lay out pages on that screen.

Of course, what was laid out on the screen would have to be printed out as quarter pages (four assembled was the actual size of what the reader held in their hands), so that hot wax could be rolled onto their backs and physically laid out.  

A representative from the pressroom in some faraway town would drive to the newspaper office and get the waxed pages that had been assembled from the printed quarter pages so that they could be physically transported to the pressroom. A photo was then taken of the waxed page and a negative was made of that so that the final plate could be put on the press.

It was the computer age. That allowed for more duties to be undertaken by each person in the editorial department, and fewer employees. You no longer needed Composition or Layout and one editor could edit on the screen, do a spellcheck and lay out the pages using one program.

Today, we can pair the pages using another program and get them ready for printing from our desks.

So what was the result of computerization of newspaper labors? First, there were fewer employees to pay in order to get the job done. There was also more control over the product by newspaper editors and publishers and duties could be done much faster than ever before. Since there were fewer employees to do the same work, there was also less need for more floorspace in newspaper offices.

Some people would never say, “Thank God for computers.”  But, some would have to admit that in some cases, they have changed our lives for the better.

Jeff Riggs is associate editor of the Athens Daily Review.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • TVCC’s Lovato proves success breeds champions

    Tuesday night was another special night for the athletic program at Trinity Valley Community College.
    It wasn’t a night where a team finished out another amazing season, but one of celebration for a team fans across Henderson County have come to love during the basketball season.
    The Celebrate 8 ceremony for the TVCC Lady Cardinals was held at Cardinal Gym to recognize a team that has accomplished a history-making feat most teams could only dream of.

    April 21, 2014

  • 4-12 Rich mug.jpg Meal time for kitties can be an adventure

    I believe God gave us housecats because we didn’t have enough to worry about. They are puzzling little puffs of fur that seem to be constantly developing new sets of peculiarities.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG I've got my rib back!

    Much has changed since Jan. 19, 2008.
    Bruce Almighty, Man on the Moon, Major League – gone.
    Complete rooms decorated with sports memorabilia – gone.
    More than a dozen trips to catch baseball in Arlington – gone.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Exhausted, but happier than ever

    Wow, what a rush!
    I can not begin to explain the emotions I experienced on Monday, March 17 as Maylee Grace Wilson made her debut.
    Yes, there were tears.
    Yes, this “Iron Man” showed the emotion he hoped and prayed for.
    Over the two weeks I was home with Maylee and my wife Lacie, I experienced a plethora of emotions - emotions rather rare in my life.
    As expected, there was little sleep at the hospital. With the way Maylee acted her first night, I thought I might be able to catch a little shut-eye once we got home.

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joe new mug.jpg Music helps deal with life’s situations, good or bad

    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “Music is the universal language of mankind.”
    With music, it can help us deal with tragic situations, help us deal with the loss of a loved one, make us want to dance, make us want to sing along to the words, or help us calm down after a long day of work.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • kathi New  copy.jpeg ‘Small town, USA’ has advantages, disadvantages

    Living in a small town can have its advantages and disadvantages. For me, personally, I love “Small Town USA.”
    Some disadvantages possibly are: if you do something out of character, everyone will know by tomorrow morning; everybody tends to be related, so watch what you say;  limited resources;  it's not easy to broaden your horizons; and driving more than 50  miles to the nearest mall.

     

     

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff's mug.jpg A habit in a society and in a home that should stop

    It was Tuesday that I was walking back to my car on the Walmart parking lot, when a business acquaintance of mine who comes to the Review office sometimes, stopped her car in front of me to say hello.
    I noticed her doing something that happens at almost any moment she is around, without the office surroundings.  She had a cigarette in her hand.

    March 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • RICH-USE THIS ONE.jpg TVCC Lady Cards add to school’s winning legacy

    When I came to work in Henderson County in 1991, the Trinity Valley Community College Cheerleaders had already picked up a couple of national titles. Coach Connie Russell had the team doing things few had ever seen cheerleading squads do. Russell retired after winning five times on the national stage.

    March 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Let’s all follow Tom’s lead

    My first-born child is here and there is a hero for her to admire already.

    March 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • COLUMNIST.jpg Giving businesses choice is not legalizing discrimation

    The bar owner was blunt. A couple of weeks ago, he announced that people of a certain persuasion would not be allowed into his establishment.
    To demonstrate his seriousness, he had head shots printed of those who are not welcome to make sure that his security team would deny them entry.

    March 13, 2014 1 Photo

Biz Marquee
AP Video