September 1942 - Making the New York Times
July 13, 2017 3:08 PM   Subscribe

In September 1942, Office of War Information photographer Marjory Collins paid a visit to the offices of the New York Times, located at the iconic One Times Square and an annex on 43rd Street. There, she documented each step of the messy, physical process as news coming in over the wires was sorted, edited, rewritten, laid out, and printed, all under an ever-approaching deadline... (Mashable)
posted by jim in austin (11 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
The term "labor intensive" comes to mind...
posted by jim in austin at 3:30 PM on July 13, 2017

Compare and contrast with this previous post about ETAOIN SHRDLU, the short documentary about the last day of hot type at the New York Times.

If you want more of that sort of thing, see
posted by zamboni at 3:40 PM on July 13, 2017 [4 favorites]

The amazing thing is that the final product doesn't really look that different from the New York Times that I could buy today.
posted by octothorpe at 3:56 PM on July 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

That's amazing, but I kept thinking that that's a worrying amount of smoking for a job involving that much loose paper.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:06 PM on July 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Labor intensive indeed. I wonder how many times the same piece of information was retyped or hand-set. Also paper intensive.
posted by adamrice at 4:15 PM on July 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm old enough to remember being taught to set metal type in shop class. I can't imagine doing it on that scale.
posted by freakazoid at 5:22 PM on July 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Great post! I love the guys in hats and eyeshades, and the shot of Brooks Atkinson, and... well, everything. (When I was in a printing & design department in the early '80s, I knew grizzled printers who could have been among the young guys in these photos. They drank, smoked, and swore a lot, and knew everything about everything.)
posted by languagehat at 5:40 PM on July 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

Both my grandfather and my great uncle worked in the New York newspaper business during the time these pictures were taken although neither at the Times. Grandfather was an ad salesman for the Sun and the World-Telegraph and my Uncle was a news photographer for the Daily News.
posted by octothorpe at 6:31 PM on July 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

Fantastic! Also, omg, so much tobacco!

The printing press part is still much the same, once the plates are created.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:35 PM on July 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

There's smoking everywhere, but not a single cup of coffee? How could they work under such cruel conditions?
posted by monotreme at 11:08 PM on July 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

I sent this around to some folks I know who have an interest in printing or the newspaper business (all of whom thought it was neat).

One of them noticed something I'd missed, which is that the 4th photo down ("In the wire room...") has been reversed, left to right. The carriage return on the typewriter is on the wrong side, and the lettering on the keyboard and the packet of cigarettes are reversed. It's the sort of thing that once you see it, you can't unsee it. But I'm curious now whether the LOC version is similarly reversed, and it happened during the original scan from the plate or negative, or if it happened later on and why.

There's smoking everywhere, but not a single cup of coffee?

Interestingly enough, this also came up among the people I sent the story to. Their recollection is that the concept of drinking coffee casually, while working, didn't take hold in the US until after WWII. This makes some sense, since during the war it was subject to rationing. I've also heard that the war was responsible for a significant uptick in coffee consumption afterwards, presumably by introducing people to it in the field.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:20 PM on July 17, 2017 [4 favorites]

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