The Editorial Process

The process of producing a daily edition of a large city newspaper begins with a meeting of the paper's editors, who determine the amount of editorial copy in an issue based on the advertising space that has already been sold. A specific number of pages is agreed upon, and the editorial assignments are made to the various departments. The section of national and international news, generally the first part of the paper, is compiled from correspondents who send in their stories electronically, usually via computer modern, to their editor's computer. There, the editor checks the stories, sometimes rewriting them or increasing or decreasing their length. Additional stories of importance are compiled from wire services such as United Press International, Associated Press, and Reuters. These are organizations that employ reporters in various cities of the globe to compile stories and items quickly for dissemination over telephone wires.

For a typical, newsbreaking story of local origin, the process begins with a correspondent submitting a report, either in person or via computer modern, to the "rewrite" desk person. The rewrite journalist fine-tunes the wording of the story and makes sure it answers the six important questions: who, what, where, when, why, and how. He or she then sends it over to the computer at the city desk. The city desk editor, who is responsible for the paper's local content, looks over the story, makes additional changes if necessary, and sends it over to the news desk. The news editor, who makes the final call about which stories to run in the upcoming edition based on their relevance, may make further changes before submitting the piece to the copydesk. The story arrives there with guidelines for length as well as headline instructions regarding size and type.

From this point, the story is set to be inserted on a certain page that has already been roughly laid out by both the news editor and a makeup editor. A mock-up of the page, essentially a blank form showing where the stories will run and where pictures and advertising will be inserted, is called the "dummy." The makeup editor has already met with the advertising department to determine how such pages will be laid out with ad space. The dummy has rough notes for headlines, story insertions, and graphic elements such as photos and tables of statistics. It also shows the date of the edition as well as a page and section number. After the news editor has determined the placement of the story on the page in question—as well as the other items set to run there—the dummy is sent on to a composing room.

The Manufacturing

1 The composing room receives the story in an electronic format, with the computer text file already translated with typeset codes. In a typeset file, the characters are of the same "type"—style, size, and width—as they appear on the pages of the newspaper. The setting of stories into the type that a reader sees went unchanged for several decades until the latter years of the 20th century. Well into the 1800s, type was set by hand, letter by letter. A typesetter dropped small metal letters into a hand-held tray called a "stick." The invention of the Linotype machine in 1884 made possible a quicker, more efficient method of typesetting. Invented by German immigrant Ottmar Mergenthaler of Baltimore, Maryland, this large, cumbersome machine worked by casting hot lead into a line of type with the assistance of an operator who typed in the copy on a keyboard. Individual lines of type were then placed by hand onto a page form. When a page was completed, it was then sent to a stereotyping room where a curved metal plate was made from the page form. The page form was then placed on the printing press.
Modern technology has replaced the Linotype process through a method called phototypesetting. The first step in this process is the transfer of the dummy to the page layout section of the newspaper. There, an operator transfers the instructions on the dummy into a rough page prototype. A printed version may be looked over and adjusted several times by one of the reporters whose story is featured as well as by the copy editor. If another breaking story comes in, this page layout can be altered in a matter of minutes.

Image transference
2 The final version of the page is then approved by the editor on duty—sometimes a night editor in the case of a paper that is slated for a morning edition—and sent over to a process department. There, the page is taken in its computer format and transferred via laser beams onto film in an image setter apparatus. The operator then takes the film to a processor in another section of the paper, who develops it and adjusts it for its final look. Photographs are scanned into another computer terminal and inserted into the page layout. The pages that are set to be printed together are then taped down onto a device called a "stripper," and an editor checks them over once more for errors. The strippers are then put into frames on light-sensitive film, and the image of each page is burned onto the film. The film of each page is inserted into a laser reader, a large facsimile machine that scans the page and digitally transfers the images to the printing center of the newspaper.
At the printing center, typically a large plant separate from the newspaper's editorial offices and centrally located to facilitate


A newspaper is a printed periodical whose purpose is to deliver news and other information in an up-to-date, factual manner. Newspapers appear most commonly in daily editions, but may also be issued twice a day or weekly. While the content of a newspaper varies, it generally consists of a predetermined combination of news, opinion, and advertising. The editorial section is written by reporters and other journalists at the direction of editors and may also be compiled from wire service reports. The advertising content of a newspaper can be divided into two parts, classified and display. Classified ads are small, text-only items obtained via telephone and set into the format by the classified advertising representative. Display ads are obtained by sales representatives employed by the newspaper who actively solicit local businesses for this larger, more visually oriented ad space.

A newspaper is printed on thin paper made from a combination of recycled matter and wood pulp, and is not intended to last very long. Large printing presses, usually located at a plant separate from the editorial and advertising headquarters, print the editions, and a network of delivery trucks bring them to the newsstands and geographical distribution centers for subscribers.

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The History of Printing and Printing Processes

Timeline of the Newspaper Industry
59 B.C.: Acta Diurna the first newspaper is published in Rome.
1556: First monthly newspaper Notizie Scritte published in Venice.
1605: First printed newspaper published weekly in Antwerp called Relation.
1631: The first French newspaper published, the Gazette.
1645: Post-och Inrikes Tidningar is published in Sweden and is still being published today, making it the world's oldest newspaper.
1690: The first newspaper is published in America, Publick Occurrences.
1702: The first English language daily newspaper is published called the Daily Courant. The Courant was first published (periodical)in 1621.
1704: Considered the world’s first journalist, Daniel Defoe publishs the Review.
1803: First newspapers published in Australia, the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser.
1830: Number of newspapers published in the U.S. is 715.
1831: The famous abolitionist newspaper The Liberator is first published by William Lloyd Garrison.
1833: The New York Sun newspaper costs one cent - the beginning of the penny press.
1844: First newspaper published in Thailand.
1848: The Brooklyn Freeman newspaper is first published by Walt Whitman.
1850: P.T. Barnum starts running newspaper ads for Jenny Lind, the "Swedish Nightingale" performances in America.
1851: The Post Office starts offering a special cheap newspaper rate.
1855: First newspaper published in Sierra Leone.
1856: The first full-page newspaper ad is published in the New York Ledger. Large type newspaper ads are made popular by photographer Mathew Brady. Machines now mechanically fold newspapers.
1860: A "morgue" in newspaper terms means an archive. The New York Herald starts the first morgue.
1864: William James Carlton of J. Walter Thompson Company begins selling advertising space in newspapers. The J. Walter Thompson Company is the longist running American advertising agency.
1867: The first double column advertising appears for the department store Lord & Taylor.
1869: Newspaper circulation numbers published by George P. Rowell in the first Rowell's American Newspaper Directory.
1870: Number of newspapers published in the U.S. is 5,091.
1871: First newspaper published in Japan - the daily Yokohama Mainichi Shimbun. Famous newspaper interview with explorer Stanley Livingston published.
1873: First illustrated daily newspaper published in New York.
1877: First weather report with map published in Australia. The Washington Post newspaper first publishes with a circulation of 10,000 and a cost of 3 cents per paper.
1879: The benday process improves newspapers. The first whole page newspaper ad placed by an American department store (John Wanamaker) is run.
1880: First halftone photograph (Shantytown) published in a newspaper.
1885: Newspapers are delivered daily by train.
1887: The San Francisco Examiner published.
1893: The Royal Baking Powder Company becomes the biggest newspaper advertiser in the world.
1903: The first tabloid style newspaper, the Daily Mirror is pblished.
1931: Newspaper funnies now include Plainclothes Tracy starring Dick Tracy.
1933: A war breaks out between the newspaper and radio industries. American newspapers try to force the Associated Press to terminate news service to radio stations.
1954: There are more radios than there are daily newspapers.
1955: Teletypesetting is used for newspapers.
1967: Newspapers use digital production processes and began using computers for operations.
1971: Use of Ooffset presses becomes common.
1977: First public access to archives offered by Toronto Globe and Mail.