Yesterday's Technology . . . Today!

A Measured Approach

I RETURNED to the Salt Lake Tribune just a few months after going through the first time, on my way back to Denver, to get my family, and return to San Francisco.

I worked a few shifts in both directions. It was at the time that the Tribune had either just purchased the Deseret News, or they had merged, I don't remember which. They had moved all of the production of the News to the Tribune, along with dovetailing the priority board in the composing room.

There was some bickering about the dovetailing, and other pressures in that shop that I don't quite remember, but when I sat down at my machine, I noticed the operator next to me take his line gauge and measure each take before he dumped it, and he wrote it down on a pad.

He did this all night, until shortly before quitting time, when I saw him measure his take again, he took half of the type he had set and threw it in the hell box, and dumped the rest.

When he returned, I asked him what he was doing. He answered, "They dupe us every night, everybody, and I keep track of my lineage, and when I reach the deadline, I refuse to set any more, and if I set too much I will dump it in the hell box."

There were a lot of Mormons who came from the News, and I believe this fellow was one of them because they all wore overalls.

The deadline there was one of the toughest I had ever encountered, because the Deseret News, being a Mormon newspaper, had more obits in it than any other paper I had ever worked on, and just about every one had a thumbnail picture in it that you had to wrap the type around, in agate, classified measure.

There were a lot of good operators who could not make the deadline there. But it was a very good place to stop and pick up a couple of shifts when you were travelling, because you could hit town by show up time, work a shift, and the chairman would cash you out at the end of the shift, and issue you a new traveler, and you could be back on the road again.

Copyright © Dave Hughes 2000-2015. All rights reserved.