Tear sheets, FYI,
are pages with ads to give the advertisers, and ripping out tear sheets was a
daily, rather messy assignment. If I have ink in my blood, at least part of it
comes from those days of dealing with newly printed pages.
complaints about newspaper delivery, and I relayed the complainers’ messages to
the circulation department. “Missed my paper again …. Landed in the ditch again
… Paper came too late … Tell that paper boy of yours ….”
I got “kicked” strongly over the phone by a classmate's dad, distraught over his
newspaper landing (again) in a ditch. Apologizing for him the next day at school,
my friend explained, “Don't mind Daddy. His bark is worse than his bite.”
OK. I was getting used to the barks. Good training for the newsroom where I longed
to be one day.
Finally, after graduation from high school, I was moved
to the newsroom to work in “soc." There was a collective sigh of relief when I
left the switchboard.
Soc referred to society news, a section once dwelt
on social events only. By my time, in the early Fifties, soc was evolving into
a lifestyle section, encompassing human interest features, food, fashion, gardening,
club news, entertainment and the arts -- plus the parties and weddings, etc. We
also handled news from school reporters. When needed, I helped with proofreading
and editing “satch” -- Saturday church page.
When unintentional changes
were made on proofs or raw copy, we wrote “stet” above the correction, meaning
“never mind, leave as it is.”
“CQ” was inserted by writers trying to tell
their editors that a strange-looking name, or whatever, really is correct, please
Our work tools in the newsroom included manual typewriters
and a stack of copy paper recycled from the press rolls. Every desk also was equipped
with scissors and a glue pot to transpose, delete or add paragraphs. We were the
original cut and paste gang.
To continue front-page stories, we used the
second page only for "jumps." (When I first heard “jump page,” I thought they
were saying “junk page.”)
“Dummies “ – besides referring to cub reporters
fresh out of high school -- were our maps for making up the pages in the composing
room. After measuring stories and writing heads, we used the dummy sheets to show
where to place the stories and art, and the word "art" could mean a photo or a
“Stringers” were correspondents who worked part-time, covering
various events, mostly sports.
“Makeover” meant a page that had to be changed after the press started rolling,
and that was a big deal. Only in dire circumstances would we stop the press to
remake a page, rearrange and add stories. The most extreme makeover in the history
of Baytown Sun press runs occurred when President Kennedy was assassinated.
Prior to my first job, I was acquainted with at least one bit of newspaper lingo,
having learned in my junior high journalism class what the numeral 30 meant. We
typed 30 to indicate the end of a story. So this is ….
don’t change … CQ, I really mean 30.)
© Wanda Orton -
January 27, 2012
Baytown Sun Columnist
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