Today is a special day for those of us who have been in the industry since before desktop publishing. Some newspaper folks today — you young ‘uns — may think newspaper layout and design has always been done on a software program installed on your computer.
Desktop publishing is quite new actually.
For the rest of us, we’ll think of Xacto knives and pica sticks, waxers and blue-line layout sheets, Compugraphic Juniors, 7200s and Headliners. Of sterile pens (ok, I know they’re called non-reproducing pens but we refer to them as sterile). Of those days we went home after standing around the layout table most of the time and realizing that missing paragraph was waxed to the bottom of your shoe. Of burnishing the layout sheet after all the copy was down just to make sure it was stuck to the page and not going to fall off.
Laying out ads is so easy today compared to the cut and paste of each part of the ad that had to be typeset, proofed, waxed and then positioned on the layout sheet, making sure it was “straight,” not angled.
Here’s an idea for today — sit down with a staff member too young to know anything but desktop publishing and share with them what the “paste-up era” was like.
Then maybe they’ll understand why National Paste-Up Day is so important to you and to the history of producing a newspaper.
Those times were challenging but so much fun, so memorable.