Changing & Staying The Same

by Curt Kovener Curt line

The Times is quietly noting an anniversary this week. It was at this time in 1980—and it does cause me some minor distress to say that was 29 years ago—that the newspaper you are reading was inaugurated.
The first week of December 1980, the Scott County Journal in nearby Scottsburg began publication of a new newspaper called The Crothersville Times.
It wasn’t expected to last…but it did…it has.
The newspaper came under more local ownership in March 1983 when the current Editor, in a moment of weakness, purchased the publication and went from being employed reporter to Editor-Publisher-Photographer-Circulation Director-Delivery Supervisor-Business Agent-and Complaint Department.
There have been considerable changes at the newspaper since that first issue. A much grayer editorial head being among the most obvious. Others changes are not as apparent to readers.
When the Times began it was produced by keyboarding stories directly into a typesetter which justified the columns and printed them out after the l-o-n-g strip of paper went through a liquid chemical solution to make the type magically appear.
The next technological improvement required a bit of ingenuity. We acquired a used but more up-to-day typesetter which could be plugged into a computer. That would allow stories to be written and saved to disk and then typeset after they were edited. I didn’t have an IBM computer but I did have a Commodore 64 which could send information out in ASCII coding that the typesetter needed.
While many pooh-poohed the idea, but for a number of years the Times was produced with that toy computer. (I will pause here to allow my detractors an opening for disrespectful comments.)
In the mid-1990’s the newspaper switched to the Macintosh computer and the desktop publishing era began. Though, being a skeptic, it was several years before we got rid of the antiquated phototypesetter & processor.
I splurged on that first Mac computer and got the larger 80 meg hard drive. It added about $300 to the price tag as I recall but I thought the investment would be worth it to have extra capacity. The newspaper now uses flash drives which are slightly larger than fingernail clippers and hold more than 10 times as much information than that original Mac hard drive.
And I have written previously about working wirelessly at the wilderness retreat in the middle of nature where there are no cell phone signals to produce the weekly newspaper product.
Over the years I have found that while the cast of characters may change, the plot and theme of the community has not. We are still a one stoplight town.
We still want a safe community, a good school for our children, safe water to drink and don’t want to be bothered with whatever happens after we flush the toilet because that’s now the town’s problem. We all want more business in Crothersville while we continue to prefer to shop out of town.
We still commute out of town to work and watch out of towners commute in to work at local manufacturers.
We still have more than a dozen churches in a wider community of around 3,500 people which means we are either the most pious community or one is desperate need of spiritual learning.
Our streets are still rough and messy and like 1980 there is never enough money to fix them. We still like to complain about property taxes but always want police, fire and ambulance services readily available in case we need them.
One other thing I have found over the past 29 years, despite all of the new, innovative technology, I still work too many hours. And I have found that those smart sumbucks who say “You don’t need to work harder, you need to work smarter” usually have someone to whom they can delegate their work duties.
One final thing that hasn’t changed over the past three decades, even though the newspaper has ‘gone green’ with using soybean based ink and recycled newsprint, the ink still rubs off on your fingers as you read the paper.
Thank you for putting up with dirty fingers all these years.