Archive for September 29th, 2012
29 Sep

Ode to the printing press operator (and many others)

This thought just occurred to me… so let’s see if I can express it here.

Our industry has experienced many, MANY changes. Obviously.

But one the things I think we tend to forget are the people outside of the newsroom and even the business side.

When was the last time you thought about the printing press operator? The one actually printing the beautiful broadsheet that millions still read. (Yes, millions.)

The people who know how to make the presses sing, carefully printing news and information efficiently… and under their own deadlines.

Those that love — or deal with — the loud roaring sound of the presses.

Those ones that truly get their hands dirty with newsprint.

The real ones who can actually “stop the presses.”

You know, they could be working somewhere else. They, too, know they could get another job where their industry isn’t “dying.”

But they choose to work the presses.


I bet they feel the same amount of pride working their craft as you feel in yours.

I bet they value their role — albeit one often forgotten, evolving but yet still vital — in helping inform their community.

I bet they are as proud to work for the masthead as the journalists across town.

I bet their chests get broader when they see a powerful headline that will help their community as it blurs fast through the presses… I imagine that they try to print it even faster to get the information to the community quicker. (But without compromising quality.)

They feel the same pain and have the same worries when they see the revenue challenges and face layoffs.

Let’s take this out of print and look toward audio engineers. Or how about those that run the backend equipment that makes the nightly newscast viewable via satellite.

Let’s look at the computers — granted old ones, typically stuck with IE — and the people behind making these crappy things last a little longer to help keep the budget lean.

The IT people that take pride in their work, knowing that they are facilitating the production of journalism. They can probably make more money elsewhere, but stay here because they want to help inform their community too.

How about the Web developer? Coder? Programmer?

They can make a ton of money elsewhere.

So can you… P.R. is right there. All companies are now media companies and they need help telling their own stories.

These are great, honorable jobs. But you, like the others, stay.

Look, we are all “suckers.”

Suckers because we believe in journalism, in informing our community, in doing the best we can with the resources we’ve got… on deadline. And we do it all while working long hours and being underpaid.

But we can’t imagine doing anything else.

These are all different crafts. All to be respected. All to be valued.

Just a thought.

// State of Play
The closing credits of the journalism thriller, State of Play, is all about the printing of the paper. It’s a great homeage to the process. I captured the final frames because I loved their CMYK moment that passes in a blink of an eye. Here it is slowed down,

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