The more things change, the more they stay the same
The quality, importance, and independence of journalism is sacrosanct in our society.
From the Town Crier in the early days to the beginnings of the commercial print industry, “the news” has been many things. In fact, the product of the Fourth Estate has been in existence perhaps longer than any other medium. The “paper” is the miracle that appears every 24 hours in various forms and locations. The tone of any newspaper may be left, right, or, in many cases, right down the middle. The pure existence and balance of opinion options are a cornerstone of the journalism industry and consumers’ preferences.
The relatively recent history over the past 50 years has seen some incredible changes in the physical production and distribution of the paper. Press operators toiled then (and still now) late into the night stuffing Section B into Section A, bundling, loading, driving, and dropping off. High school-aged kids would ride their bikes with huge baskets around neighborhoods hawking or dropping off the paper both morning and evening.
The newspaper is an incredible product packed with editorial, information, pictures, sports scores, classifieds and, of course, advertising to pay for most of the cost. Historically, the other revenue for the industry was subscription revenue. The newspaper was “dummied” via paste ups, negatives and veloxes. Commercial-size cameras would fill entire rooms to “shoot the page” before “going to plate.” The puzzle-piece pagination process was essentially done by hand.
All this effort to ensure that the public was informed by news reporters, of whom most regarded as public watchdogs.
From an advertising perspective, much of the business was by phone when advertising agencies and media buying services would call in to place an ad. They would then follow up with hand-written or typed insertion orders that went in the mail to the publications at least one full week in advance. Ad copy was placed in the mail at least five days in advance to make deadline. At the end of each month, the ads were torn out of the papers as proof of publication with three-foot rulers (hence the term tear-sheet). These piles of tear sheets were sent along with the invoices back to the clients. And in those days, digital advertising was unheard of.
Fast forward a few years to the advent of the fax machine, Craig’s List, high-speed Wifi, the smartphone, and even the great recession – now, just a few buttons need to be pressed one to two days before the paper comes out. The new digital side of the business has endless options.
At the end of the day, however, the role of the newspaper has not changed at all. Perhaps the appearance and ways of conducting business, but the industry still exists to deliver news, information, and a whole host of other incredibly important societal items.
As the news media industry continues to evolve, it can be hard to keep pace. If you need help, rely on the newspaper experts at MANSI Media. Our team can place your local newspaper buy, in print or online, anywhere in the United States, from the smallest niche publication to the largest national newspaper. Get the help you need for your next advertising plan by emailing Help@MANSIMedia.com or calling 717-703-3043.