From the Publisher: Time for Us to Turn the Page … Online

Opinion editorial Commentary - Gold text on black background - 3D rendered stock picture.

By Michael Cleary

I’ve always been a strong believer that a printed newspaper, one that you can hold in your hand and turn the pages, has staying power, because historically there is a tendency to keep it around for a while, very often in one’s bathroom, right there with Reader Digest and National Geographic.

During idle times, you might pick up the paper and have a look and see something you didn’t notice the first time. This has been reduced to some extent to being a quaint idea. Readers Digest and National Geographic are gone and have been replaced by the smart phone as a bathroom distraction.

I still believe in the value of printed newspaper, but I also recognize the reality of needing an online presence. So, henceforth, Farmers Weekly Review will be available in both forms. This is, after all, the 21st century, and advertisers and readers alike have been wanting an online edition for quite a while.

Technology hurtles forward, progressing with varying degree of control or loss of control, but forward nonetheless. In just the last 20 years — which has gone by in a flash — I’ve seen incredible changes.

When I started here, the words you read were typed into a computer, and that machine spat out column-wide strips of paper containing the story, etc. The backsides of those strips were then given a coat of wax, and they were positioned onto a full newspaper page size piece of paper.

The wax allowed them to be removed and repositioned, and while some corrections could be made by cutting things out with an X-acto knife, all but the most minor of changes resulted in the need to redo the whole column. There was no dropping in “Word” files, it was all typed in by hand.

This semi-final result gave us individual 5 column-by 17-inch pages, which then needed to be photographed by a giant camera to create full-size negative image piece of film. That full-size page image was then transferred onto a thin sheet of metal, which was attached to the drum roller of a printing press.

Fast forward to today, and we can simply drop in almost any file we want, whether it be text or photo or what have you. The entire newspaper can be formatted on a laptop computer. Last minute change? No problem. It’s all electronic, and we can all view the progress online. And so, I guess it is only natural progression to post an online version as well.

Our hope is that online access with compliment the printed version, and not replace it. After all, a printed newspaper is completely cordless, battery free and operates without need for internet connection or cellular service.

It can be carried almost anywhere, and when the new one arrives, the old one has countless uses, such as birdcage liner, coffee grounds receptacle, and papier mâché art projects, to name just a few.

Try doing all that with a smartphone.

Michael Cleary is publisher of Farmers Weekly Review.

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