Tech sur­vey of­fers glimpse into the past

Newspapers & Technology Magazine - - News - Kevin SLimp colum­nist

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

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