The biz has changed so much and now it’s my turn

This was in the days when there was no such thing as paginating a newspaper on a personal computer

A metal pica pole and an old paper column header sit in the top drawer of my desk.

I don’t use either any more although the pica pole – a thin ruler – makes for a fine Slim Jim if I was a car thief. I’m not, but I have used it over the years to bail out more than a few drivers who have locked their keys in the vehicles outside the Mirror office.

“Misspent youth,” I joke to the drivers after popping open the door with the help of the trusty pica pole.

The drivers always looked at me with skepticism, but they were always glad to have their keys back without paying a tow truck driver 50 bucks.

The pica pole – picas are a unit of measurement, one-sixth of an inch – and the column header were used way back when we still “pasted up” the newspaper. This was in the days when there was no such thing as paginating a newspaper on a personal computer.

Heck, we barely had computers when I started in this industry in 1987. At my first job at the Clinton (Ontario) News-Record we had Compugraphic typesetters that cost five grand a piece and had a screen far smaller than an iPad.

All it did was typeset and even then our floppy discs had to be sent to another typesetter for processing. After that, copy would come out of a huge machine, which would then be waxed, folded, cut and pasted onto the “page dummies.”

The dummies were then photographed and made into plates that would then go on the press to produce the next edition.

Today, everything is done digitally.

Pica poles, paper standing heads, waxers, Compugraphics and much more is long gone from journalism.

When I first started, each day began with opening a stack of mail. It wasn’t long before the mail was replaced by a pile of rolled-up fax messages.

We still have a fax machine in the office, but it’s seldom used. The faxes also stopped coming en masse around 2000. They gave way to e-mails and now Facebook and Twitter messages.

Cell phones were also in their infancy back in the “dark ages.” They looked more like oversized walkie-talkies and they were only useable if you happened to live in a big city.

Today, everyone has a cell phone which is basically their home computer too.

So many changes and more change will come.

Change is coming for me as well. Next Friday will be last day at the Mirror.

I never intended to remain at this job for nearly 25 years, but it’s really tough to leave the most beautiful place in Canada, made even better by the fantastic people who make this place home.

Campbell River will remain home, but it’s time to seek new opportunities.

In my final column, next week, I will provide a snapshot of the many great memories of my years at the Mirror.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Another modular unit is lifted into place on the second floor of the new supportive housing complex being built at 580 Dogwood Street on Thursday this past week. Photo by Cleo Corbett/City of Campbell River
Campbell River’s newest supportive housing facility rises on Dogwood Street

Pre-fab modular construction means the building can go on the foundation in under five days

RCMP remind people to lock their doors after dark. Black Press file photo.
RCMP seeing jump in property crime and unlocked vehicles

Drivers also cautioned to stay aware of changing road conditions

The Campbell River branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library is scheduled for demolition in 2021 to make way for a new $14-million library facility. File photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Mayor of Campbell River addresses concerns surrounding new library funding

‘This $14 million is the Vancouver Island Regional Library board’s money,’ mayor says

Environment Canada has issued a snowfall advisory for parts of Vancouver Island for Thursday and Friday.(File photo)
Snowfall expected in parts of Vancouver Island

Environment Canada has issued a snowfall advisory for north, east and inland Vancouver Island this week

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson, BC Greens Sonia Furstenau, BC NDP John Horgan (The Canadian Press photos)
British Columbians vote in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

At dissolution, the NDP and Liberals were tied with 41 seats in the legislature, while the Greens held two seats

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Most Read