Some things never change As I sit in the passenger seat of a car being shuttled home, I’m making the best use of my time. It made me realize how much, in my 56.5 years on this planet, times …
Some things never change
As I sit in the passenger seat of a car being shuttled home, I’m making the best use of my time. It made me realize how much, in my 56.5 years on this planet, times certainly have changed.
I started my career as a budding journalist in my mid-teens, getting rides to small-town government meetings and hand-writing my stories to be passed on to a person who typed them into some kind of a contraption the size of a Buick. Now, it’s a little after noon, some 41 years or so later, and I had to connect this tiny laptop computer to my i-phone to be able to save my work directly into something called the Cloud.
Kind of freaky sounding, isn’t it?
In expectation for winter travel, I have come prepared. Predictions were for double digits below zero with snow where we were coming from. I have an actual mobile office. When we’ve taken our minivan, I’ve actually set up a “desk” (or card table) in the back and made wise use of travel time. My wife is almost always the driver. She’s one of those people that’s driving even when she isn’t driving, if you catch my drift.
I got my big break in the newspaper businesses when I was about 10. My dad owned the local newspaper. My sister had a paper route, and she was too busy for it. Now, I had a paper route. The $12 a month was too hard to resist, and I was hooked. Seeing my value to the family business, I moved right on up the ladder. I inserted newspapers and got them ready to mail for years. I got my lucky break when my dad bought me my first camera. Maybe I should have known that was going to lead me to years of darkroom duty as well. I still blame my asthma-related issues to long hours souping film and making prints in chemicals that ruined every shirt I owned and probably my lungs, too. Being a photographer was hard work. You never knew if you had a decent picture until everything was developed, and you’d hold that negative up to the light and inspect. Camera equipment cost a fortune. Film was expensive. Now, I take print-worthy pictures right from my phone. Everyone now, it seems, is a professional photographer. I hope they realize what us darkroom rats went through “back in the day.”
Tomorrow when I get back to my real office, I’ll electronically grab this article and paste it into its place on an computer file that then will be uploaded through a computer network to be printed. When I started in my first newsroom, I had a Royal manual typewriter that I hammered out my stories on, for them then to be retyped onto film that was then developed and cut up, waxed and put on a layout page. A picture was taken of that page, then film developed and a plate was burned to put on the press.
While times have changed, at least for us small town papers, we’re still printing our products. That may make us a relic in this digital world. Sometimes I sure feel like it. But I also know how hard generations of people worked to get the newspaper industry where it is. It’s amazing to be able to push one button on a computer and have it do the work that 10 people used to do. The end result is the same, though. We print thousands of papers each week and do our best to let you know what’s going on in our corner of the world.
In the 1970s, when I would get done slinging newspapers on my route, my hands would be full of printer’s ink. When you get done paging through this newspaper, some of it probably rubbed off on you as well. Some things never change.