We joined our homeschool friends for a field trip to our local newspaper this afternoon. I recall visiting a newspaper when I was a young girl – in fact, it was one of the most memorable field trips. I was therefore looking forward to this trip … eager to learn how technology had changed the newspaper industry. And, indeed it has. The Gutenburg printing press will soon be introduced in Story of the World and when we get home to the coast again, I hope to take the kids to the printing museum (The Marshfield Sun) if it is still there.
We started out in their mini-museum … essentially the landing area on the second floor … which displayed a model of the printing equipment they use, an antique typewriter, and a few photographs of past editors. We were then lead through the doors to offices and news desks. We met with a young man whose role was to produce the Letters to the Editor and Op-ed pages. We waved at the Editor/Owner from the glassed wall windows. We ducked into the rooms for the Copy-Editor and learned that technology has likely affected this part of the paper the most … no more cut & paste. Everything is done on computers nowadays … and in fact, the girls at this desk had never worked with the older forms of copy layout. “We’ve always used the computer.” I inquired about the software they used and they replied that they use a combination of DTI, Adobe InDesign, InCopy, PhotoShop and Illustrator.
From there, we were led into the newrooms and discovered that each section of the paper (Business, Sports, Local, etc.) had distinct areas within the newsroom, divided by cubicles. We meet with a young woman who in fact wrote a couple articles for today’s issue. She spoke of how she goes out into the field to report on local events and will later return to the office to write up her articles. “Deadline is midnight.” She talked about how she sometimes has to rewrite her article numerous times to get it just right … even sometimes after she thinks it is perfect, her editor will still give back to her and request changes.
When one of the students asked why the type set was so small, she discussed how newspaper circulation is dwindling and that because of the internet, so many people have stopped subscribing. The cost of producing a newspaper is expensive, particularly the paper and the ink, so to help cut costs, the font size is small to fit more text on the page and thereby use less ink and paper.