Don’t Bring Lulu extract: Ron

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August 24, 2012 by dontbringlulubook


By now, I was enjoying life at the Argus after the difficulties we had experienced back in the spring.  These were the days before newspaper production was taken over by computers, and the process then in the use involved linotype operators who, using molten metal, converted the journalists’ typewritten copy into rows of hard typeface.  It was a hot and noisy procedure compared with modern methods, and at the Argus it was overseen by a fearsome individual, the head printer, whose name was Percy.  It was Percy’s job to liaise between the printing technicians and the journalists to ensure that all five editions of the paper went out of the building on time.

Percy wore an impressive long grey overall coat, and several times a day he would advance slowly towards the large table around which sat the editor and all his sub-editors.  The routine never varied. ‘And who,’ he would ask, brandishing a single sheet of A4 paper high above his head, ‘is the owner of this pretty thing?’ ‘This pretty thing’ was the work of an individual sub-editor responsible for a particular page of the Argus, and it illustrated in diagrammatic form how that page should be made up – where the headlines should be and the location of the various news and feature stories, as well as the photo blocks and any advertisements.

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