Today marks 35 years with the Victoria Advocate. It's been an interesting venture punctuated with the earmarks of technology, like the pencil marks on the doorway recording various heights through one's youth.
Black and white film was the standard before that pesky McPaper USA Today, introduced the practice of publishing color on every section front. The term “cut and paste” came from the practice of editing stories on the composing room tables into the final form. If the srory ran long, an editor and composing room veteran with a box cutter in one hand and a cigarette in the other, literally cut and pasted sentences and paragraphs from the story until it fit the allotted space and still made sense.
In the darkroom, photographers used a variety of homemade tools used to darken or lighten areas of the print, often 3 or 4 times till the right combination of blending produced a good print. Shooting in low light was nearly impossible without flash, there wasn't any auto white balance and certainly no auto focus. In fact there weren't any computers yet at the end of the '70s.
Each decade brought greater strides in productivity, but armed with all the new bells and whistles brought a dynamic shift in the news gathering and reporting. CNN and the advent of news brought to us 24 hours a day, seven days a week had an effect on the way we digested news, thought about it and processed it.
Just as we had no idea what the impact of almost instantaneously receiving breaking news would be, as we watched as O.J. Simpson ride for hours on California Highways with a fleet of police officers following in a slow procession.
Social media has made its mark as well, substituting a real one-on-one conversations once delivered face to face, one person at a time. Now it's more convenient to email rather than have a short conversation and in the process we have distanced ourselves from human contact.
Photojournalism continues to play an important role but I'm afraid the message is somehow becoming increasingly difficult to exist in a sea of images, videos and text messages. Images that tell a story need to be absorbed slowly and allowed to work itself into the fabric of our soul, something quite counter-intuitive to the process of rapidly pounding the simulated tabs of a smartphone keyboard.
Sadly, Marshall McLuhan had it right so many years ago, ...”the medium is the message.”
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