Printing and publishing for about 500 years had to do mostly with what you could do with hot lead and ink.
I came in just after that.
The first daily newspaper I worked at made its transition to “cold type” and a “front-end system” when I was there in the late 1970s. Nothing has been the same since.
We had a tightly secured soundproof room for the wire service machines. They consumed endless amounts of paper and tickertape.
We were connected to the regional headquarters of the Associated Press by the “C-Wire.” We could use that machine to file stories that only the AP’s regional desk and a half dozen other newspapers in our region would see.
When you typed on the keyboard, a ticker tape would come off one reel with the little holes all punched. When you had enough tape made, you could feed it into another reel and “vroom,” you would be transmitting and your copy would be coming out of “C-wires” across the region.
If you were really good, you could get about one foot of ticker tape feed into the transmit reel and then type fast enough to stay a ahead of it.
If you were not fast enough, the tape break and you would have to start all over. Fail to stay ahead of it for a second time, and chances are AP would be on the phone with a good scolding.
In the 1980’s I’d actually moved up to a newspaper that gave its road reporters “telecopiers”.
It meant no more dictating stories to the “re-write” man.
This granddaddy to the fax machine was a breadbox size phone attachment that allowed one to send one page of copy on a normal 8 /2 by 11 page of paper over the phone lines.
Trouble is it took four to six minutes per page and sounded like someone was trying to strangle a mouse inside of a washing machine.
I spent many hours listening to that noise and that’s the best I can come up with.
Today, the lead is gone, the ink is gone, and the paper is gone.
We should not be having any problems at all, should we?
But we do.
We do want to acknowledge, in case some of you have noticed, that we’ve had a morning or two with a glitch.
Our problem has been that on occasion our pages have not rebuilt and published automatically as they are supposed to at 5 a.m. Eastern time daily.
It seems we always have people up at this time, helped by the fact that we have people spread out in various time zones. So, all problems have been fixed manually, usually in a matter of minutes.
We do know we have a large readership in the 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Eastern time frame, which is why I wanted to acknowledge it.
If it has caused anyone any inconvenience, we are very sorry. Otherwise, please know we are making progress at getting it resolved.
The only item on my list this week is to thank those who called us out for not having a better geographic handle on Canada. For the record, Fredericton, capital of New Brunswick province, is NOT really that close to Ontario.
Nous regrettons l’erreur
Until next time.