Tuesday, August 1, 2017

And another post presents itself

Blogging will be easy if this continues to happen, with posts delivered right to the blogging corner of what now passes as my brain (the older I get, the less information it contains).
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.

In the mid-1960s, my friend Judith and I both worked in the editorial department of the Vancouver Sun, in the old building on Beatty Street in downtown Vancouver. I was a mere copy-runner (the lowest of the low) while Judith worked in the editorial library.
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" 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.



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.


carol l mckenna said...

Fascinating post and photos about your work experience and history of 'copy' ~ thanks,

My blog is now A Shutterbug Explores) aka A Creative Harbor and posting daily )

Lady Fi said...

Fascinating to hear about a world that has changed so much! Thanks for sharing.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
What a great post Kay - a fabulous reminiscence. 'Tis true, the tech world is not only changed drastically within itself, it has effected change in all the world around it! YAM xx

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I loved the old building and found the new one less friendly.........I so admired how the typesetters could read upside down and set up the type so fast. Amazing, really.

Gattina said...

Interesting, sounds as if you write your memories :)

Penelope Puddlisms said...

I’m with Sherry, that “old” building is the real beauty. From one “adorable dot” to another, your historic account of an industry technology changed so dramatically is a treasure! And even though lots has changed, your friendship with Judith (and me) remains. :)

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Love reading your story Kay.... you really were born with printer's ink in your veins! My mother used to write 'society' stories for our little local weekly paper . She got paid by the published inch -- I remember her measuring with a yardstick and complaining that Mr Keel, the editor, had left out whole paragraphs describing the bridesmaids dresses etc.... slow news weeks were better for her I guess because then she'd get more inches!! We used to go with her to deliver her stories and I remember those huge old presses or linotypes or whatever they were -- inky and noisy.

Jeanna said...

It's more than amazing to think how things have changed. The dads of my two best friends worked in printing. When I worked on the student newspaper the best place to go was in the back where they put everything together. Ahh, the days of blue pencils. I remember thinking someone who still cut and pasted instead of figuring out the layout was so behind the times, lol. I've worked for a lot of local papers doing everything from taking complaints, delivering them and writing articles. Great post.

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TheChieftess said...

Interesting her-story about your career!!! I know several people who were displaced from newspaper jobs as technology took hold and either teched them out of a job or reduced the staffing because of less readership... I've always imagined that the old style newspaper process was an exciting place to work! All the movies that revolved around printing a newspaper certainly gave us that feeling of excitement! Nice story! And thanks for visiting and commenting on my Photographic Journey and our trip to Brisbane Australia!!!

TheChieftess said...

PS...every time I see your title "Unfitties Guide to Adventurous Travel", I can totally relate!!!