Many changes abound

I recently was asked, by someone my age contemplating reitrement, how long I had been in the newspaper business.
I had to pause and think.
My brother, my sister, and I all grew up in the business. My brother and I began delivering papers when he was 10 and I was 12. Together we had one of the larger paper routes and when the subdivision opened up behind our home on Third Street, we set out to have the largest Times’ route.
That was several decades ago. All three of us went from paper routes into the business—first as part-timers and then into full-time work.
It seems strange thinking back to all the changes that have taken place in the newsroom. Manual typewriters and Linotypes were discarded in favour of electric typewriters that punched ticker tape. The electric typewriters then were replaced by the first computers with screens for typing.
We would carry floppy discs around to a machine that would print out columns of type.
Those first machines, called Compugraphics, were replaced by the first generation of Apple computers and everything was connected together.
In the composing room, we did away with lead and went to pasting with beeswax pictures and type for advertisements. The ads were placed and pasted on layout sheets and the copy from the reporters was pasted around those ads.
The pages then were photographed and burned to metal plates to go onto the press.
Our first press could only print 12 pages at a time. Everything was black. Today if we used all the units together, we can print 28 black pages.
Instead, we still only print 12 pages but can have colour on several of them.
Almost 40 years ago, we began using 35mm cameras and processed all of our film in a darkroom. To get the pictures into the paper required many steps, but it was much better than when we worked with lead.
Today, our reporters use digital cameras and several of the cameras even can shoot short videos, which we can put online at the www.fftimes.com or www.rainyriverrecord.com
The paper is produced electronically, and the hard copy now only comes off the press. The paper continues to be delivered by carriers and Canada Post.
Many of our readers today read the paper online. There are stories that appear online that don’t appear in the paper because of space restraints. Whole picture galleries of high school prom pictures, sporting tournaments, concerts, and even the recent “Polar Plunge can be seen on our website.
Only occasionally would one see a colour picture or advertisement in the paper. Today, there is a colour picture on the front page every day, and often coloured advertisements on the inside pages.
The newspaper industry continues to change, and we continually are working to stay abreast of changes and incorporate them in the way we produce newspapers for our readers. The industry remains exciting and the new reporters and staff continue to make improvements to our paper.
We look to adopt other changes to include receiving videos and pictures from people for the web, and to create blogs where people can present information that is valuable to the community.
We seek your input about how we can serve you better and keep your newspaper valuable to you.

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