Respect for Print

     A couple of years ago when going back to college (the doctorate is tugging at my shoulder) in a difficult economy for most humans I had the opportunity to start writing for The Herald Palladium in South West Michigan.  It's slightly above minimum wage.  Not unusual by any means.  At that point I was grateful to find any job, particularly one where I could write.  It's been an interesting learning curve, because covering sporting events or the side interest story isn't like either creative writing or research writing.   So my sports editor Jason finally convinced me after 12 months of correcting how I cover events for him.   With a background in radio including play by play for Grand Valley nearly 80 years ago (:-) sometimes my writing for the HP comes out reading like I was broadcasting on the air.
     My writing for the Palladium isn't really what draws me to share in this forum though.   As we've watched small local or regional newspapers fold across the country, I'm amazed at what gets accomplished here in St. Joseph every night of the week.   Last year several other local newspaper operations owned by the company were essentially closed (they may have one or two local story writers) but all of the work required to layout those different publications happens here.  Every night pushing against deadline to get the complete layout for every section, stories, advertising, flow through from one page to another, completed so it can get to the printing presses on time for more than six publications.  Some of those are printed here, others are printed elsewhere.
    I've just learned to have a tremendous amount of respect for how physically and mentally difficult it is to put a full newspaper out on a daily basis.  The responsibility and effort put forth by this team is really quite amazing to me.  So the next time you find an error in some print media somewhere, step back and look at the entire publication and realize really how much work it takes to get it into your hands in the first place.   I'm not excusing errors or poor work.  I just understand how it can happen.  If you've ever yelled at your computer because MS Word Grammar and Spelling wants to change the sentence incorrectly, you understand.
You might extend a little more grace to those who work to produce something, that before too long, may not exist anywhere except your cell phone, iPad or laptop.  There's something special about the printed page that's different than a screen.  Then again, maybe that's just my age showing.  Particularly since the NY Times cut me from 20 free articles a month down to 10 now.  I'm not sure when it was I got old, but I'm definitely going to have to do something about that soon.

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