What is it About Newspapers?

My first experience working for a newspaper was immediately out of high school. I was hired to

be the receptionist at an office in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. It didn’t last long as I was too curious about the advertising department, so it was easier just to put me there.

Although interesting, the job meant up-selling the customer on bigger ads than they’d come in for, and it just wasn’t my style. And besides, whenever I wasn’t at my desk, I could be found in the basement shadowing the people who put the paper together.

Soon they sent me down to work in the mysterious and exciting dungeon. There, I donned my new title, compositor, and reveled in the world of cold lead- black type on white labels, exacto knives and the wax needed to affix the words to the graph paper. Not to mention the smell of varsol at the end of the day to clean the light tables.

I learned how to white space wisely, how to make the most of the fewest letters and how to build a page from the lower, outer corner in.

It was exciting times until the union came in and forced me to stop helping the job printer, learning from the dark room guy and to give up my hard-earned privilege of being totally in charge of the weekly flyers.

So, I moved to B.C. and helped set up a Pennywise buy and sell paper from the ground up. It was exciting but not high pay. In fact, I agreed not to get paid until the weekly got off the ground. I moved on long before that happened, but I was glad to discover recently that it is actually, years later, doing very well.

I had many other jobs, and moves across the country, in the intervening years but always missed my time with a newspaper. Simply being the mother of a newspaper boy just wasn’t enough.

And, then 11 years ago, What’s Up Yukon appeared! How exciting – a home-grown paper that was high on human interest stories, display advertising and coming events. Just the kind of publication that was interesting, educational and informative. Exactly my kind of paper.

However, the intervening years had meant that, like the change from hot-lead to cold-lead in my time, the times had evolved from cold-lead to computer imaging. Way out of my range of skill or even learning confidence. Awwww.

But, I found a way to still rub shoulders with a newspaper. I began to submit little stories and articles. And, to my delighted surprise, now and again one would be accepted. I, once again, am in the arms a newspaper. I am home.

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