Thursday, March 15, 2007

Chron re-union not to be missed...

Sad to hear that after 170 years of publication, the Lincolnshire Chronicle is no more.

But tonight (Thursday) the distinguished life of the old Chron will be celebrated in style, thanks to former colleagues who have arranged a re-union at Lincoln City Football Club.

My earliest memory of the long-demolished Chronicle print works on Waterside North were as a long-haired teenage trainee reporter in 1969 – some 37 years ago.

The newsroom was a world of clapped-out pre-war manual typewriters – I was given the one with a dodgy carriage return and set about learning one-finger typing: (in the school I’d just left, only girls did typing!)

The late sixties were also the dying days of hot-metal printing, with linotype and even more ancient monotype machines (which were already museum pieces) operated by ‘inkies’ who swiftly re-keyed the words of reporters into lead-typefaces ready for ‘the stone’ where the solid type was loaded into broadsheet ‘chases’…

After weeks of running endless errands and mashing the tea for senior reporters, I graduated to slowly tapping out wedding reports, and was eventually allowed out into the city to collect material for the Chron’s obituary columns…

Aged 19 - and still very green and hairy – I reached the dizzy heights of reporter in charge of the newly-opened Market Rasen office for the Chronicle.

I later moved on to be 'Chief Reporter' of the Sleaford Standard and then 'News Editor' - no less - of the Louth Standard, both sister papers in the Lincolnshire Standard Group (LSG) stable.

Experience at LSG led to me emigrating in 1974 to work on the Bermuda Sun newspaper.

Five years later I was back in UK – with wife and new-born baby – and went back on the Lincoln Chronicle for another spell which coincided with the first ever national strike by provincial journalists.

I was FOC - Father of the Chapel – through the six-week pay strike and a few months after we settled back to work, I moved on to work for Peterborough-based EMAP newspapers.

I often recall the look of horror on the face of the careers officer who came to my secondary school when I told him I wanted to be a journalist.

“That’s a career for Grammar School boys, not you,” he told me.

Thankfully, no-one had told Gerard Perriam, Group Editor at the Chron who later interviewed me and gave me a chance.

Looking forward to meeting many colleagues I’ve not seen for three decades…

3 comments:

Brynley said...

Nice post.

Liz said...

I too enjoyed the post. It is really sad when "institutions" close.

Thank you for sharing your newspaper journey with us Phil. Whilst the processes might have been old fashioned, the journalism was superb and newspapers played an important part in local communities. It is sad how things have changed and how the profession is viewed by the public. Enjoy the re-union........

Anonymous said...

brynley and liz:

thanks. you're right about things changing. when i started at the chron there were a dozen reporters for Lincoln's weekly newspaper, mostly trained seniors, and it was a paper of record - ie everything thast moved was given coverage!¬

A far cry from many of today's set-up which are sometimes run by one junior and a helper...

Maybe the other big change was ther accuracy - everything had to ber checked and double checked - and we still managed to get things wrong sometimes!!

phil - (on someone else's computer and it won't let me be me!!)