Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Embrace technology

Although a little long in the tooth, this column gives a good idea of what it was like to be a "telegraph editor" and copy editor 30 years ago.

I'm not even sure I would survive without Google.

(Start reading at "I started editing and headlining Associated Press news copy...")

On the telegraph editor: His job was vital in selecting, editing and placing wire stories from all over the world, his country, and region on pages throughout his newspaper, then laying out the daily Page One, writing the headlines and finally, shepherding the late-makeup pages to the printer/compositor and the press room on deadline.

On Linotype: For generations, the lines of lead type were created by a printer operator striking a letter on a keyboard on the Linotype, usually a Merganthaler. A brass matrix was released from a magazine at the top of the machine and when enough letters and spaces formed a line of column width, molten lead flowed into the mold to form a line of type, or slug.

And on editors: Age-old editing functions were changed with the creation of an "editing rim" when we moved to the new building. Five copy editors were arranged around a copy editor rim man, or quarterback. News from the local and regional desks, as well as all wire news, was routed through the rim editor who would decide where the story would go and what kind of headline and art work were required. Copy editors completed those functions, and after a rim man took a final look, the news item was sent on to be pasted up on the assigned page.

A question on that for any who would know: "Rim man?" I thought that was the slot and everyone who sat around him was the rim, hence the terminology today. Did it change somewhere down the line?


Post a Comment

<< Home