Tech survey offers glimpse into the past
Robyn Gentile of the Tennessee Press Association dropped by my office to give me a folder recently. “I thought you might be interested,” she said.
Was I ever. It was a survey I had conducted 12 years ago for Tennessee Press Association, to determine what type of technology needs existed among member papers. The following are a few of the findings:
• A majority of 71 percent of Tennessee newspapers were Mac based, with 29 percent using PCs for design. Interestingly, that number hasn’t changed too much over the years.
• Although InDesign had been around for three years, most papers were still loyal to QuarkXPress (version 4 was most popular), used by 61 percent of respondents. 28 percent used Pagemaker (ask your grandparents about that), while InDesign and Cre- ator were used by a handful of newspapers.
• The most fascinating finding to me: 22 percent of newspapers were still pasting up pages. That’s hard to imagine. The majority — 59 percent — were printing pages out to film on an imagesetter.
The survey questioned publishers about training. Most, it seems, favored large training events in central locations and training at press association conventions over smaller, hands-on training located within an hour’s drive. Again, interesting.
It was fascinating to look through the surveys and see names I recognized. Many were publishers who have retired. Others were good friends who have since passed away. Several were young editors who are now publishers, many of whom now serve as board members and chairs for Tennessee Press Association. And some, it was good to see, are still publishing their papers today. Kevin Slimp is an industry trainer, consultant and speaker. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.