When I first started working at this newspaper 20 years ago, it was a different world.
The press was in the same building and if you stayed into the evening, you’d hear the massive machinery throbbing through the walls. Our coworkers included the men and women who ran the press, as well as the machine that inserted ads into the newspaper.
It was fascinating.
And then the press went away, along with the folks who ran it. I would wander through the rooms that once held stacks of newspapers and large machines and the soles of my shoes would be stained with smudgy black ink left behind.
It reminded me of an abandoned brickyard I used to visit outside of a small town in Illinois. It looked like workers had just gotten up from their jobs in the middle of a day and gone home. Grass grew tall in the domed kilns that were left behind. Documents fluttered in offices with broken windows. Pencils lay crosswise on desk tops.
Now the building where we once printed a newspaper has been transformed into a church. And, in our current location, we look more like an office than a newspaper. Kids occasionally come through on field trips and I’m guessing they’re disappointed, despite the animation of their tour guide, Nick Tomecek, who is the digital editor and a photographer.
What they see are a bunch of folks sitting at desks, typing on their computers or talking on their phones. They are working hard, juggling a myriad of writing and editing duties. Most people have no idea what it takes to put out daily and weekly newspapers, in addition to a number of websites each day.
It’s easy to be nostalgic for days gone by. To feel like we were somehow closer to the newspaper when we were physically pasting stories on the page, when we could see the giant ribbons of paper unfolding in a room so loud you had to wear earplugs.
But were we better then? I don’t think so.
We may have been more grounded. Information made its way to us more slowly and it made its way out to readers more slowly too.
The world didn’t spin quite as quickly. But we’re hanging on for the ride. Thanks for coming with us.
Managing Editor Wendy Victora can be reached at 315-4478 or firstname.lastname@example.org