Photo by MURRAY CRAWFORD/Advocate Staff Mike Shea, Advocate compositor, overlooks the press at the Red Deer Advocate.

Changing newspaper production

Every night, after most of the staff has left, the daily press run of the Red Deer Advocate begins.

The noisy press gets going and pumps out the news at a rapid rate, committing the stories of the community to paper and getting them ready for the community to see.

Getting the paper to print has changed at the Advocate as recently as within the past year, but that change is a far cry from how the paper was once printed.

Mike Shea, with the Advocate for 40 years, has seen significant changes to how the paper is produced every single day. When he started with the Ottawa Journal in 1971, that paper still used the hot metal typesetting method.

There was a time when the Advocate too employed the typesetting method to get the paper onto plates for printing. Stories, ads, classifieds were all manually typed to create the plates the newspaper would be printed on.

“You knew when you made a mistake typing, because you could hear every click,” said Shea, as he typed out lines onto the press plates. “When you screwed up you scrapped it.”

At the time the presses used lead so that meant Shea would go home every morning with his arms dirty from the night’s work.

“You walked in clean, you walked out filthy,” he said. “It was such a dirty process. You had to spread the ink on the rollers with a brush. There was so much ink and dust.”

This same process was once employed to get the Advocate out every day. And before the ability to type out words and lines for the plates, individual letters would be typed out.

Now, the process of getting the paper to print combines lasers and a room similar to a dark room, where pictures were once developed from film.

“It just mesmorized us all,” said Shea.

There’s no typesetting involved anymore. A computer file is sent to the printer where a digital image is exposed onto a metal plate with lasers.

Ten years ago, when the Advocate switched to the digital image printing, there was a second stage where the metal sheet would be processed through chemicals, similar to how photographs were developed.

The newest process, adopted within the past year, at the Advocate doesn’t use chemicals to process the plates.

Just Posted

Accused murderer tells all to Mr. Big undercover officer

Joshua Frank tells undercover police officer he shot the Klaus family

Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre prepares to open

Non-profit will run the facility and agencies will provide staff

Rocky Mountain House man arrested for child luring

A 30-year-old Rocky Mountain House man was arrested after allegedly having explicit… Continue reading

Parkinson association will close offices but maintain services

Offices closing in Red Deer, Medicine Hat and Lethbridge

WATCH: Central Middle School students’ Christmas tree

A group of Central Middle School students are set to show off… Continue reading

Red Deer County firefighters to be recognized for Waterton help

RCMP brass will give formal recognition Monday

Ron James tries to lighten humanity’s load through humour

The comedian returns to Red Deer for shows Dec. 1 and 2

100+ Women Red Deer donate to Christmas Bureau

About $14,000 will help with Christmas hampers and toys

Semi collides with vehicle on Highway 2 north of Ponoka

Members of the Ponoka Integrated Traffic Unit dealt with a call on Highway 2 north of Ponoka

After 70 years, Red Deer veteran still remembers his traumatic war experience

Frank Krepps feels lucky to have survived the Second World War

Merritt Mountie charged with assault

Charges are in relation to an incident in May at the detachment, B.C. Prosecution Service said

Blackfalds RCMP arrest “armed and dangerous” man

A 38-year-old man, who police identified as armed and dangerous, was arrested… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C.’s own hammock deer garners celebrity status

After getting tangled in a backyard hammock the deer in Prince Rupert has T-shirts, Facebook page

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month