The newsroom, circa 1970
(All photos were taken by Dan Wybrant)

Newspaper technology changed radically during the 1970s and 1980s after being relatively static for almost a century.  These photos show traditional newspapering in transition as the digital revolution began to hit the newsroom and the "back shop."


Like most newspapers, the Daily Titan had a wire service that delivered state, national and world news over a teletype machine hooked to a phone line that processed data at 110 or 300 baud (even today's SLOW home modems receive data at 56,000 baud--56 kilobaud).  Jim Benson looks over the day's wire news to determine if anything on the wire is important enough to CSUF students to displace local campus news in the day's news budget.

As a first step in producing the Daily Titan, an editor (Gail Rhea) makes up an assignment sheet, using a device known as a manual typewriter.  A marvel of mechanical engineering, this gadget was a true EPA Energy Star:  it used no electricity whatever.  A skilled journalist could write a story at a rate of perhaps 60 words per minute.  But none of the original keystrokes could be preserved:  someone would have to retype the story again to set it in type, inevitably introducing new typographic errors in the process.  By the early 1970s publishers everywhere were beginning to buy video display terminals linked to typesetting computers so writers' keystrokes could be preserved and copy editing could be done electronically, saving an enormous amount of labor.

The editor gives an assignment to a reporter (Susan Truberg), specifying the scope and length of the story.

The reporter then makes arrangements for interviews or actually conducts interviews using a rotary dial telephone.  In those days even the phones were owned by a huge cartel:  a network run by AT&T and its local subsidiary, Pacific Bell.  AT&T owned about 90 percent of all local telephone systems in addition to its long-distance monopoly until an antitrust ruling in the 1980s changed everything in the phone business.  Yes, the dial phone itself was owned by AT&T.  It wasn't even legal to buy your own phone and plug it in.  In fact, there were no plugs; the phones were hardwired into the network.

Sometimes a reporter used an ultra-compact portable tape recorder to tape an interview and then checked the tape to assure accurate quotes.  Here Ray Estrada double-checks his notes.

Once the story is typed, the reporter uses rubber cement to glue the pages together...


...and the reporter, in this case Jeannette Montgomery, edits her story with a pencil.

Once the reporter turns in the story, the assigning editor looks it over to be sure it covers all of the desired angles and is of a suitable length. 

A page editor then adds the story to a dummy of the page, estimating its length according to a traditional and usually reliable formula!

Next, the "slotman," Lynn O'Dell, working at a traditional U-shaped copy desk, either assigns a copy reader to go over the story or does it herself.  A good copy desk was/is a crucial part of the editorial quality control process.

Meanwhile, photo editor Michael Salas picks up his assignments...

...and goes out to shoot pictures with a Nikon SLR (the standard, but lacking a zoom lens) 

The photographer gets names and other information from everyone visible in his photos, of course.


Back in the office, cartoonist Tom Haygood completes his work.


Next:  the Daily Titan production facility in H-223 turns out camera-ready pages.


 Return to Daily Titan history opening page