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Reflections

June 22, 2017
by Jane Whitmore , Emmetsburg News

When I started working here, many, many years ago, I was young and naieve. Now I am a rhinoceros.

I learned about being a rhinoceros from a speaker who advocated accepting the positive and letting the negative roll off your hide. It's not so much about being tough and foreboding, as it is about presenting yourself in a positive manner. I like being a rhinoceros.

There were many life lessons to learn along the way of a 44 year career. When Jerry Hofstad hired me, his first question was: "Can you type?" Ron Seaman was editor.

My first assignment was writing family news -- weddings and social news. It grew into attending meetings, taking photos and writing more stories.

Two years later, I moved into the news department. It was a great day when Sheriff Joe Girres called the office and asked to speak to me, specifically. The story was about some hogs that were stolen from an area farm.

In 1978, Jerry Hofstad asked if I would fill in as editor "until they found someone." I've been filling that position ever since.

When I started, we typed out stories on a typewriter. Then someone else re-typed it and the galleys were processed and printed out on slick white paper. When I graduated into the composition room, it was cut and paste -- literally.

We trimmed the columns of news stories and we cut the screened photos to the correct size, then ran the pieces through the waxer. It was a giant "oops" if a piece got lost in the hot wax. Getting the story to fit the allotted space was (and still is) a challenge. I recall one time when I cut the story into so many different pieces that they got out of sequence. We had to completely "re-do" before the page could go to press.

When we upgraded to computers, we learned on the job with tiny little monitors and giant floppy discs. Next, we learned to paginate newspapers on the computer. Dan Voigt and I spent an afternoon at a sister newspaper, learning the process. We watched as fingers flew across the keyboard, importing stories and photos and lining up every column in perfection. It was truly mind boggling. My first attempt took hours to finish only one page.

The rhinoceros in me came out and we charged full speed into composing the entire newspaper on the screen. At that point, we no longer had our own press and were sending pages to Webster City to be printed. Now, our fingers fly across the keyboard as we paginate the paper.

There have been many changes in 44 years -- from technology to location of the newspaper office. The challenges have been many and the learning curve high. Through the years it has been a very rewarding career. However, now it's time to look for a new adventure.

To kick it off, we are going to party! A group of wonderful friends will host a party at The Shores on Thursday, June 29, after work (from 5 to 7 p.m.) My newspaper family will host the Chamber Coffee the next morning, Friday, June 30, from 9 to 11 a.m.

Everyone is invited to both events to celebrate 44 years in the newspaper game and to kick off this new adventure.

It has been wonderful working with all of you and reporting on our great community. We'll continue to see you out and about -- after the party.

 
 
 

 

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