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The West Australian Pressroom

Started by Mechanic, March 09, 2011, 04:23:55 AM

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Mechanic

Letterpress newspaper printers who have not been inside a modern web fed offset pressroom, will be amazed by this video of the West Australian newspaper's operation. For some unknown reason the last minute and a half of the video is blank.

The video is probably typical of today's pressrooms. I have been to Murdock's Brisbane publishing plant and it is much the same.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epvDbKz5dIw

George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast
Queensland
AUSTRALIA


Mechanic

The West Australian, then owned by Robert Holmes a` Court, caused me great concern back in 1987 when young Warwick Fairfax made his failed attempt to privatize the Fairfax publishing and broadcasting empire. He put a lot of the companies assets on the market including the Australian Financial Review  and the Times on Sunday, which the West Australian offered to buy. Now the agreement did not only include the mastheads and goodwill but the computer system used by the editorial staffs to produce the papers.

In those days Personal Computers (PCs) were just starting to be used for small publishing systems, but larger newspaper systems relied on a number of central computers interfaced to a large number of input terminals with limited intelligence. Now the Fin Review and the Times required about 25% of the terminals, but in order to operate these terminals we would have had to part with 50% of the main computers, which would then not have left enough to support the Sydney Morning Herald.

My then opposite number from the West Australian came to Sydney to try and reach a compromise. After a couple of days of discussion we agreed that it was impossible to split the system and the deal fell through, much to my relief.

George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast
Queensland
AUSTRALIA

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