Waxing Nostalgic

Waxers, velox machines, light tables, pica poles, and border tape all remind me of working late nights in my college newsroom.  We came out every Thursday – it was a small college, with a small staff – and so Wednesday nights were production nights. This was all brought back to me by a post on a blog called Creative Pro: Heavy Metal Madness.

I had a love/hate relationship with production nights.  When I first started we didn’t even have computers.  We had to go to the local newspaper – The San Angelo Standard Times.  They allowed us to use one of their workrooms and two of their typesetting machines that fed the stories into the Velox.

Then we pasted it up.

The next year we got six Macs.  I was now the sports editor and we were able to do paste up at our own place.  I’ll never forget the crazy Wednesday nights.  We cracked jokes, cursed the waxer, reprinted copy and headlines to fit the space available.  There was always one page that the wax wouldn’t hold.

We also told ghost stories after midnight.  We raced the rolling chairs up and down the hallways.  It was a lot of fun, stress and always crazy.  I’m glad we do layout using DTP software these days.

Fighting The Good Fight

My father was career Army.  He joined the military in 1968 and did a tour in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive.  We were lucky to be able to travel to Europe and many places in the US due to his service.  My uncle, dad’s cousin, served in the Air Force during Vietnam too.  My mom’s sister’s husband served in Korea and both my grandfathers were in the Navy during WWII.

What I’m slowly getting at is that I was taught from an early age to respect those who have served.  But I was also taught that the reason for their service was not the government, but the people.  They served to protect the rights of the people and self-government, what we commonly call democracy.  And that includes first and foremost the first amendment.

I bring this up for two reasons.  First, one of my fellow j-teachers and bloggers is in the middle of a bit of a crisis.  An administrator at her school is hassling her and telling her that video is not journalism, so not protected by her state’s student media protections.  Please visit Cindy’s blog and give her the encouragment and weapons she needs to fight this.  Let her know we’re out here and that we can and will help her.

Second, when I was at the ASNE workshop, the Student Press Law Center gave us a great presentation on our rights as journalists and more importantly our STUDENT’S rights.  They do NOT leave their Constitutional rights at the school house door, no matter what some administrator with an over inflated ego thinks.  There ARE limits to Hazelwood.

I know that I have to toughen up myself.  No one said that this job would be easy.  But we dishonor those who wear the uniform and risk their lives for our freedoms if we are not willing to fight for them ourselves.  Freedom is not free.  My father taught me that.