While 'working' (not really the right word) on my Facebook page today, a friend's post about filing cabinets brought back many memories of my early days in the newspaper business.
BEATTY STREET, VANCOUVER
When editors or reporters hollered "COPY!" it was my job to run over to take their typewritten stories and deliver them where they wanted them to go, sometimes running up several floors of winding stairs to the composing room. Then I'd have to run back down until another editor or reporter sent me elsewhere.
Judith, however, worked in the editorial library, and sometimes she was the one to yell "COPY!" It was up to me to run to the library to take the information she had researched, then deliver it to the appropriate editor or reporter. How she loved the opportunity to push me around like that! I am happy to say that later, and to this day, we meet on equal terms and are the very best of friends.
In 1965, Vancouver's two daily newspapers, the Sun and the Province, moved to a shared building at the corner of 5th Avenue and Granville Street. It was big and shiny and new, and put to shame 'the old building' which we so dearly loved.
The new Sun newsroom was vast, and anything but cozy. There were offices around the perimeter for editors and columnists, all of whom required the services of a copy runner once or twice or more per day.
However, I no longer had to respond and dash off in a flash. I had a new job...I was the editorial receptionist, with a raised desk overlooking my new realm, a console with a vast number of buttons to pass information to writers and editors..."Call for you on Line 3, Mr. Swangard"...plus a window beside the locked door, through which I could first check and then, perhaps allow visitors to enter, or else ask them politely to wait.
I had become the editorial receptionist.
But ink was in my blood, and I returned to the family trade... job printing.
A job printer can read upside down and backwards just as fast as he can read the normal way.
Old-time job printers, like my father, could "set type in a stick" almost as fast as a linotype operator could with that late nineteenth-century marvel of engineering: the linotype machine.
The newspaper and printing industries remained pretty much the same until the mid-twentieth century.
Union membership made printers mobile, able to travel from paper to paper, shop to shop, continent to continent. An ITU ticket was a ticket to the world for many years, and I met union compositors from all over the world.
Then came computerized typesetting equipment.
SMALL NEWSPAPERS, AND JOB SHOPS SUCH AS OURS, TRIED OUT EARLY COMPUTERIZED TYPESETTING MACHINES LIKE THESE TWO (below) BY THE COMPUGRAPHIC CORPORATION
By the time I eventually became a union-certified compositor, things were changing in a big way. We called it "tech change" and it was affecting almost all the developed world in one way or another. My brother and I, and even Dad, joined the International Typographical Union.
More soon, but now
sharing with Lady Fi's popular meme Our World Tuesday.