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
  • Wilson mug.JPG Rolling into something new

    She did it.
    My baby girl rolled over for the first time this past week while daddy and mommy were watching closely.
    As other major news broke across the county, watching my baby roll over for the first time was by far the biggest news of the week for me. Odd.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joe new mug.jpg Fanfare is a time to prepare for another season

    I love to see the talent our student athletes have across Henderson County. To know that each player puts in the blood, sweat and tears to play for a district championship and hopefully a state title is something special to see.
    Another great in the world of sports is a player who is retiring this season in New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.
    Jeter once said, “There may be people who have more talent than you, but there's no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do — and I believe that.”

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • kathi New  copy.jpeg The greatest country in the world has hungry children

    No child should go hungry. We are the greatest country in the world, yet we have hungry children.
    An article I recently read said that if a child in school can't afford lunch, they will be given a sandwich and water. I was told the sandwich is cheese between two pieces of bread.
    I hope everyone realizes that is what they serve in the county jail. Not that I know this from personal experience. I was told from someone who did know from experience.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase

    Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase.
    Hakuna Matata! Ain't no passing craze.
    It means no worries for the rest of your days.
    It's our problem-free philosophy.
    Hakuna Matata!
    Congratulations, if you have watched the Lion King a couple of times you now have this song stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff's mug.jpg It was a week in the depth of heat, then cooler

    Sunday and Monday of this week have been very uncomfortable.  The air conditioner at our house has been down, and the temperature outside and in the house have been way up.
    Thank God for the blessing of the cool temperatures and the rain that fell on Tuesday, then on Wednesday.  It changed things just a little bit.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Time away is necessary for everyone

    I can remember as a kid writing essays on “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” As the years pass, and we are more in-tune with the workplace, those vacations get shorter and shorter.
    Do you ever have those days  when you just need a vacation? Sometimes you just need to get away.
    Taking time off work should be fun and rejuvenating. We all need a recharge every now and then. But vacations aren't what they use to be. We rarely disconnect ourselves from our jobs.

    July 12, 2014

  • Joe new mug.jpg Student athletes: Time to wake up and get to work

    Hey student athletes, it is about time for you to wake up and get to work.
    Your summer is coming to an end, and the early morning wake up calls for practices are right around the corner.
    I am talking to the football players, volleyball players, cross country kids, band members, drill team members and cheerleaders.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Remember who you are

    Are you running so fast that you have forgotten why you started the race in the first place?
    Life moving at a blistering pace that it is tough to keep up?
    Maybe it is time to stop, take a deep look into the pool of water and remember. Remember who you are.
    On numerous occasions, I have had to do just that. Ironically, various movies have caused me to look inside.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff's mug.jpg CSUMC provided a memorable experience

    My wife Jean and I went to a very interesting, and what I consider a very unique event last Saturday night.
    I had heard that the church where we are members, Carroll Springs United Methodist Church, was having an event in which people sitting in the audience would sing their favorite hymns into a microphone.

    July 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rich mug.jpg Independence ultimately won on battlefield

    I always enjoy celebrating Independence Day, and hearing some of the stirring words written in the Declaration of Independence.
    Thomas Jefferson wrote that our Creator has given us certain rights, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The way I see it, if I have life and liberty, that gives me a pretty good start on the third one.
    But as eloquent as our founding fathers were, and how moving the texts they left behind, one fact can’t be overlooked. Our independence was ultimately won and secured on the battlefield.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

Biz Marquee
AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue