That’s a Wrap!
Publishing enters new era at University of Guelph
BY BARBARA CHANCE
What a difference a quarter-century makes. Twenty-five years ago, when I joined the staff of what was then a weekly publication called the News Bulletin, we wrote and edited our stories on “dumb” terminals, printed them off on a big noisy dot matrix printer and handed them to our typesetter, who typed them all over again into her machine.
On production days, our graphic artist would cut and paste strips of copy onto layout pages, cut rubies for photos and screens, create headlines on a phototypesetter, size photos with a ruler and wheel, and painstakingly paste on word and line corrections. Meanwhile, several of us would be feverishly proofreading and making last-minute changes.
When the final crooked headline had been straightened and the last mysteriously missing period pasted on, we’d put the pages in a wooden carrying case, and our then director, Doug Waterston, would lug it over to the campus police station, where it would be picked up later by our printer.
In the years since then, there have been many harrowing production days, but the sizing wheel and wooden carrying case are long gone, and the only cutting and pasting I’ve done lately is on my computer to transfer the At Guelph PDF file to the printer’s FTP site.
Sometimes in the midst of shipping the paper off with just the click of a mouse, I’ve had flashback memories of the lengths I used to go to at times to physically get the paper to the printer. Like the time I drove to Grimsby at 11 p.m. with only a fuzzy idea of where I was going, my gas tank hovering on empty and my befuddled cat along for the ride.
Considering how quickly technology has advanced over the past 25 years, it’s not surprising that my time here has encompassed such extremes in publishing. And now as I prepare to retire, the delivery of news and information at U of G has come to its inevitable conclusion — going completely online.
Of course, technological advances aren’t the only changes I’ve experienced at the University. Over the years, I’ve worked for four presidents and six directors and seen my department change its name four (or was it five?) times. I’ve also seen countless colleagues come and go and sometimes come back again.
The other day, Prof. Jim Atkinson of the Department of Animal and Poultry Science was telling me he came to Guelph 40 years ago to do his PhD and didn’t plan on staying any longer than the time it took to finish his degree. Ditto, I said. When I completed my BA here in 1974, I never dreamed I’d return one day to work here, and when I did, I never dreamed I’d still be here 25 years later.
There are some who might say I ended up staying this long just to avoid cleaning my office, but the truth is, when you’re happy doing what you’re doing, there’s really no reason to go anywhere else.
Before I put a final -30- on this column, I want to salute the News Bulletin/At Guelph editors who went before me — Betty Keeling, Ann Middleton and Sandra Webster — and the many writers, photographers, artists, desktoppers and other staff who have played a part in documenting life on this campus for more than 50 years. I’d also like to thank Oxford Web Printing and Torchlight Industries for their longtime printing and distribution services.
The newspaper itself has now become a piece of University of Guelph history, and although its virtual successor won’t look or feel the same (or leave ink on your fingers), it will continue to foster the sense of community and common purpose that has always flourished here at Guelph.