Fading Into History? Pt. II

11  rises 30.11  NW0  wchill11   Winter

Full Wolf Moon

My sister wrote to say that Dad was 82 when he had his stroke.  He worked until then as the circulation manager for the Times-Tribune.  He loved newspapers and he was a depression era guy, work work work.  He took newspapers to the racks in retailers where those who did not have the paper mailed to them could pick it up.

Therein lies the second phase of this story.

The great Canadian newspaper shortage, which I imagine none of you remember, drove the cost of newsprint beyond the reach of many small town dailies.  It happened to coincide, at least as I recall, with the rise of the offset printing process.  Offset printing eliminated the Linotype and the Heidelberg.

Photosensitive sheets became the print from medium.  These could be handled with no lead and the printer’s ink from before came in a less viscous form, less perfume, too.

Offset printing is the modern method of printing, but its dominance of the printing world spelled the death knell for many small town papers.  The capital costs of getting out of the letter press era and into offset was more than most could bear.   The result?  Printing became centralized with many small town newspapers printed in one location.  In the case of the Alexandria Times-Tribune this meant the paper came off the press in Elwood, some 8 miles away.

In most small towns the daily paper’s time had come an end.  In the best case the papers became weeklies with a small reporting and advertising staff–often the same people–working out of a storefront office.  In the worse case they became shoppers, thin to non-existence news surrounded by page after page of advertising.  The shopper made money, but it was not a newspaper.

The rest of the story will come later.  I have to get ready to preach.  Bye for now.