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Panpa Bulletin : November 2010
AGFA GRAPHICS Prepare for Take-Off. Agfa Graphics Australia & New Zealand Tel: 1300 364 396 (Aust) Tel: 0800 116 253 (NZ) Taking your business further is like flying an airplane. Agfa Graphics's Newspaper Solutions will get you to cruising speed in no time, with a cost-effective, efficient prepress operation. Our service teams are always at hand to make sure you stay ahead of schedule. We know the flight plan: cruise at higher levels of quality and productivity and get more mileage out of your investment. We'll help you get there with a full set of dedicated workflow solutions, unique screening technology and separation software to reduce ink usage, all part of the :Arkitex family. We have a fine selection of CtP solutions on board: the new :Advantage N, or the trusted :Polaris X, with a range of high-quality digital plates. Alternatively, sample our ecology-friendly chemistry-free violet plates. Agfa Graphics, the standard in newspaper prepress production. www.agfa.com/graphics Oakes, D'Alpuget and the Rolling Stones WHEN I read the article by my col- league and friend, Chris Pash, in the last PANPA Bulletin about his first experience as a newspaper journalist on the Albany Advertiser it reminded me of the day I started at the Sydney Daily Mirror in 1962. It wasn't quite as rustic as The Advertiser building, which had no ceiling, but it was not far removed. The Mirror and Sunday Mirror were situated in a cramped building in Kippax Street, Surry Hills, which after several refurbishments now houses The Australian as well as the Daily and Sunday Telegraph publica- tions. In those hot metal days well be- fore the advent of computerisation, reporters worked at big cumbersome typewriters which were bolted on to heavy, well worn, wooden desks. I was never sure whether this was designed to prevent the typewriters from being stolen or to stop them from being thrown at some over- bearing sub-editor in a fit of rage. When I walked into the building as a starry eyed 17-year-old first year cadet I was immediately confronted by an intimidating notice in the for- bidding foyer warning that anyone found on the premises in possession of intoxicating liquor would be sum- marily dismissed. It soon became apparent that this did not apply to anyone who had consumed vast quantities of alcohol before entering the building. In fact the pub across the road had an official office tel- ephone extension. I had never planned to be a journal- ist although my father was for many years. But when I left school and started to do an Arts degree course at Sydney University as an evening student I needed a daytime job to pay the way. And I had worked as a copy boy during my school holidays on a Sydney based rural wire service so I guess my die was cast. The road for a fledgling cadet was lined with endless mundane tasks. These included doing the tides, the weather reports, vegetable prices at the Sydney markets, the lottery results and the shipping arrivals and departures. I then became shipping roundsman which involved going out in a launch around dawn to join the many ocean liners which brought film stars and other newsworthy identities into Sydney. Later on I was deployed to the stock exchange where all the price movements were recorded manu- ally and then phoned back to the office. It was here that I became friends with a group of aspiring young Mirror journalists including Blanche D'Alpuget (who went on to become a famous author and marry former Prime Minister Bob Hawke) and Anna Torv (who later married News Ltd chief executive, Rupert Murdoch). As time moved on I began doing court reporting (where my determi- nation to excel in shorthand, which I had initially hated, paid dividends). I then moved on to police rounds working shifts around the clock in fierce competition with The Sun -- the Fairfax owned afternoon tabloid. In those days a bank robbery, a shooting, a major fire and even a big lottery win were front page news. Things have certainly changed. Then I was appointed NSW politi- cal correspondent replacing a young Laurie Oakes who moved to the Melbourne Sun-Pictorial. One of my lasting memories from those years at the Mirror came as a result of running into a workmate at the pub late one Friday afternoon. He said he had a spare VIP review ticket for a performance by a visit- ing UK rock group that evening if I was interested. Why not? On the way to the Manufacturers' Hall at the old Showground I asked him for the name of the group. "Hang on I'll check," he said looking at the tickets. "It's some band called The Rolling Stones!" In 1969 I left News and made my way to London where I got a job working as a sub on The Times. Three years later I returned to Australia and joined The Australian where I remained until 1981. My tabloid journalistic street fight- ing days on The Mirror through the 60s had taught me some valuable lessons for the years ahead. The major lesson was discipline. For a start, deadlines are there for a purpose and have to be met. Copy should be sharp and tight -- get the message across in the first ten pars because there is no story that can't be cut. And never write anything that you don't understand. After all if you don't know what you are talk- ing about how can you expect the reader to understand it. Profession: Journalists. A young, dashing Malcolm Colless plastered on his ID card Malcolm Colless BACK IN MY DAY Tell us about your first newspaper. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll make it happen. Malcolm Colless is a former senior executive at News Ltd and writes a column for The Australian's media section www.panpa.org.au The PANPA Bulletin | NOVEMBER 2010 | 25