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Headline stacking back in 1967

You don't see pages like this anymore.

There are a couple of things going on here, aside from the Jurassic page design.

The Pittsburgh Press, which no longer exists, was a Scripps-Howard afternoon paper. And since World Series games were played during the day once upon a time, putting baseball out front for the final edition made sense even if the Pirates were not involved. The earlier home-delivery edition almost certainly had the labor strife up top.

Watching an Exacto-wielding paste-up man totally remake A1 for Final (on deadline) is a sight I wish everyone could have had the chance to see.

"How much time we got?"

"Three minutes."

"No sweat."

Of course, my memories of this are from the late 1970s. I have no idea how the Pittsburgh composing room operated 10 years earlier.

When I worked on the copy desk for a p.m. paper in El Paso (another Scripps-Howard publication that has folded), I was sometimes charged with overseeing the final edition. That required subbing in the closing stock prices and rewriting the top headline on the front page. It was not overly taxing.

If there was big news before the deadline for Final, we would have to redo the front page and at least one inside "jump" page. That happened rarely. 

In any event, hardly anybody bought our final edition. But I resisted the temptation to come up with goofy A1 headlines. I had learned that lesson long before I started working for newspapers.

Convinced that one of my seemingly lethargic high school teachers could not possibly scrutinize every word of all the assigned papers my classmates and I turned in, I took the liberty of inserting "As if you're actually reading this" in the middle of a paragraph in one of my scholarly efforts.

When I got the paper back, that jape was circled in red. And I think there was a "See me" note beside it.

So I played it straight with the final edition in El Paso. For one thing, it was not my job to amuse myself. As the Talking Heads put it so well, "This ain't no foolin' around."

But mostly I had no desire to find a copy of the previous day's Final on my desk the next morning with a "See me" scribbled on it in red.

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The Slice

The online home for Paul Turner's musings and interactions with disciples of The Slice.