As I head into the second (and last) week as editor for The Journal, I still have no idea what to write about for the front page story!
The rest of the paper is coming together nicely, lots of photos and inside stories that will fill up the empty spots around the ads. I have an idea for the editorial comment, just waiting for the right mood in which to write it. Yes, mood does count when you are writing and preference is right on deadline!
Throughout my years with newspapers, I found I wrote best under pressure. At the Merritt Herald in the 1960’s through the 70’s and when I first came to The Journal in 1978, I would spend the days leading up to press day, searching out the stories and taking pictures.
On deadline day, I was at my typewriter (yes, I go back to the days of the typewriter and the huge compositors and clanking press) just pounding out the stories.
What a different story it was for me in the production of the August 2nd edition of The Journal
By Wednesday afternoon, I knew I was in trouble. I was still trying to find my way around the Mac in holidaying editor Wendy’s office. My head ached and I could not concentrate on writing, I was too consumed with trying to conquer that machine.
I didn’t sleep much that night, my brain was going in circles, so I finally gave up and got out of bed to write on my laptop, wondering if it might just be an exercise in futility.
I didn’t need to dummy (layout the news), Wendy had instructed.
All I had to do was send it in, Anne Blake in production at the Williams Lake Tribune would do the rest for me.
Now this was completely foreign to me. How could I, as editor, allow someone else to set up and review my final pages by long distance? I had protested. I would be losing control and as a member of the old school, I could not allow that to happen! Trust Anne, she knows how it’s done, said Wendy in an attempt to console me!
At 4 a.m. Thursday morning, I sent an email of desperation to Anne.
In my email I asked Anne if I could possibly do the work from my home, using my laptop instead of the Mac, then waited till the decent hour of 9 a.m. for her answer! Yes, of course, she said, all I had to do was tell her which pages I wanted the photos and copy inserted.
Would I get a chance to review the pages before the paper went to press? If so, how would that be done? Sending back the pages to be proofed by email to my laptop would make for a very huge file, I worried, much too big for me to download!
But Anne assured me we could do it. I was so unimaginably relieved and then began to enjoy myself. My writing came easily and soon I had filed all that I needed.
By Thursday afternoon, I sent in my copy and photos as email attachments and by mid afternoon, the first four pages were coming back to me for proofing. Anne had used a template, all the ads were in place. The automatic styles were pre-set and had all the standing heads were on hand to be inserted, including the one that went with the column I used to write.
Emails went back and forth between Anne and myself, she asking me questions about placement, headlines etc. and I found, to my amazement, that I was in control, now by long distance!
I was doing what David Black had predicted would happen some day when I first came to work for Black Press (then known as Cariboo Press) – using the internet, not the Greyhound bus, to get the completed pasted pages to the press from Ashcroft to Williams Lake in the blink of an eye.
The completed pages came back to me in pdf files and lo and behold, when I opened them up, there they were, clearly and crisply on my computer for my final review.
Between us, Anne and I finished up the paper shortly after noon on Friday, easily meeting our press slot for 3 p.m.
There is no better high compared to what I was feeling as we wrapped it up after my first week.
Thanks so much Anne Blake, it has been a pleasure to work with you.