Friday, January 29, 2016

There's always an add in the land of --30--


In the days of typewriters -- and of newsrooms that more resembled Clancy's Bar than they did an insurance-company cubicle farm -- you would start your story with a slug line and byline in the upper right-hand corner of the page. That way, the copy editors would know at a glance what the story was about . . . and what semi-illiterate wretch wrote it.

Then, when you got to the end of the first page of your copy -- and you never ever ended a page in the middle of a paragraph or, Hildy Johnson forbid, a sentence -- you would pick up your No. 1 soft pencil and scribble "MORE" at the bottom.

At the top of the next page, you'd put something like:

add one

Today in Ontario, there are no more "adds" for the Guelph Mercury. There is only --30--.

End of story.

End of newspaper.

End of a 149-year history -- one going as far back as the confederation of Canada itself.

End of 26 jobs.

End of a love affair between a people and its hometown paper. At the urging of Guelph's mayor, scores of citizens came out to say goodbye. Some even hugged the building. It's enough to make a grown man cry -- especially an old onetime newspaper reporter and editor.

For those of us of a certain age, it's just another reminder that the we'll see more --30-- than we will adds. And that's as depressing as a front-page hed bust. (Ask an aging newspaper type what that means if you don't get the ink-stained slang.)

Anyway, I agree with the story on the Poynter website: This was the perfect front page for a final final edition of a newspaper, God bless its newsprint soul.


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