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March 29, 2011 - Jodelle Greiner
The composition manager at one newspaper I used to work for would give tours of the newspaper plant to anyone who wanted one, usually Scouts and schoolkids, but sometimes business people, too. Joe would take the groups through the entire building and explain how each department contributed to publishing the paper, including the front office, advertising, editorial, composition, the pressroom and the carriers.
One day, I walked into the composition department just as Joe was finishing up a tour with four Scouts and three dads. I heard one of the dads say, “I never knew there was so much to it.”
That’s usually the case with someone else’s job; it’s easy until you find out what’s involved.
People complain about what we cover, how we write it, how it’s laid out on a page — all without a clue about what it takes to do our jobs. It takes talent to write for a newspaper; it’s a craft — and not everyone can do it.
I’ve said for a long time that if somebody thinks they can do this job better than me, come on down and try it for a week.
I’ve never had any takers.
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