As I was cleaning out the office for the newly named Courier Express editor, David Sullens, I found myself sometimes struggling to determine what to keep, what to pass on to others and what to pitch out.
Over the years I’ve accumulated a multitude of items, many which were once used in the day-to-day production of the newspaper. One such item is a photo wheel. It was simply two round circles with numbers and percentages listed on them and a small window cut out of the top circle, which was smaller in circumference than the bottom circle. The wheel was used to determine what percentage a photo needed to be increased or decreased to get the desired size. If a photo was 25 picas wide, or about the width of two newspaper columns, and you wanted it to fill a 52 pica space (or four newspaper columns), you’d simply find the 25 pica mark and move it so that it lined up with the 52 pica mark. The number that would appear in the window would tell you how much you needed to blow up the photo to achieve the desired results. In this case about 200 percent.
Nowadays, everything is digital and one simply imports a photo onto a news page and if it isn’t the desired size, you just click on a drop down menu and choose to “fit the space proportionally.” In the blink of an eye the photo has been enlarged to fill the space while still keeping the photo proportional so that anyone in the photo doesn’t suddenly look like they’ve walked into a fun house at the carnival with the mirrors that either make you look really tall and thin or wide and short. Neither would be a desired look for a newspaper photo.
As I packed up items, I found myself remembering the old Courier Express office in downtown DuBois. Before I ever began to work for the newspaper, I can remember watching the presses print the newspaper in the basement of that corner building. You could look down on the presses through the windows that were at sidewalk level. It was a way for residents of the area to get a glimpse into the daily workings of the newspaper.
The building, having once been a hotel, was as one might imagine, a collection of areas that seemed separated from each other but amazingly functioned very well. Of course, when the new building was built in the industrial park and we moved in, we were all amazed at the openness of the main office. We could suddenly stand up from our desks and see if there was anyone in the classified or circulation departments – something that would have been impossible in the old location.
The cleaning out took several days. As anyone who knows me will tell you, she tends to hold on to things.
So while I did “file 13” a lot of items, I also kept some as well – old cookbooks to inspire me as I write this column and an old booklet the newspaper published decades ago that tells the story of the Courier Express, to name a few. And yes, the old photo wheel is still with me also.
But less someone thinks this is a farewell column, it is not. While the new year is bringing a change in responsibilities and some new challenges that I’m looking forward to, my involvement as the Sunday editor remains. So to those who have asked, and those who may be wondering, this column will continue.