Paper comes of age
TANYIA Maxted has fond memories of her time as a reporter for the Auckland City Harbour News.
‘‘It was a new paper then so we were breaking new ground.
‘‘We had a lot of freedom to get curious and out on the beat to discover what was going on – I loved it.’’
Sharon Holt (or Sharon Chapman as she was then) was a 25-year-old journalist working at the Rangiora office of The Press. She still has the telegram she received confirming her offer of employment with the new Auckland paper.
‘‘The days of telegrams seem long long ago,’’ she says. ‘‘ A lot has certainly happened technologically in those 30 years.
‘‘At journalism school and at my journalism jobs, we used typewriters to write our stories.
‘‘And of course there were no cellphones. So when I was out and about on a story, I was on my own – unless I happened to have a photographer with me at the time.’’
Holt always wanted to be a chil- dren’s book author but knew she needed writing experience, so decided on a career in journalism with a view to writing books later.
‘‘My father worked at the New Zealand Herald and he was totally against me working in a newsroom. He wasn’t a reporter but, according to him, the ones he knew were all hard-drinking, smoking, balding men who were not the types he wanted mixing with his daughter.’’
These days Holt runs her own business producing Te Reo Singalong books for children from her base in Hamilton.
Maxted lives in Western Australia and works as a blogger and writer.
Producing a newspaper was a much more labour-intensive process in 1985 than it is today. Inhouse advertisements were mostly line art, designed in pen and ink.
‘‘It was all hands-on using scalpels and steel rulers,’’ Peter Kindley says. ‘‘There was a more skill involved.’’
Kindley has worked for Suburban Newspapers for more than 30 years. He was the company artist, has worked in sales and is now in the production department.
‘‘I do miss doing that creative
lot stuff. You were a jack of all trades. I used to take my own photos. You weren’t sitting at a screen all day.’’
Peter Webber did his five-year typography apprenticeship at the Auckland Star and has also worked for Suburban Newspapers for more than 30 years. Just getting the stories on to a page was quite a long process, he says.
After the writing, teletyping and proofreading process, it was time to get out the scalpel.
‘‘The column would come out as a strip of bromide. Headings came out separately. That would go to the composing room and they would trim the columns with a scalpel. You’d have a sub standing beside you in case it didn’t fit and you needed to cut the story. All the pieces were waxed and pasted in place on to a layout sheet.’’
Getting the photos and advertisements into the paper was just as involved.
Thanks to computers, these days a newspaper page can be designed in minutes and redesigned if need be, close to press time.
Today the Auckland City Harbour News is distributed to more than 21,000 households from Waterview to Eden Terrace. And these days a story is cut with a keystroke – not a scalpel.
Reporter's souvenirs: Sharon Holt still has the telegram she received, confirming her offer of employment at the Auckland City Harbour News, and her press pass.
The team: Page three of the first edition introduces the founding staff.