PAUL Larkin, the Editor of this newspaper, was the speaker at the November meeting of Morpeth Civic Society.
He described his own career in journalism and the changes he had seen as newspaper offices moved from being smoke-filled places made noisy by the ringing of phones and the clacking of typewriters to fairly quiet and smoke-free places.
The newspapers themselves have also changed, their place in the supply of news having been threatened prior to Paul’s career by radio and television, and now by the internet and smartphones.
Japan is even experimenting with flexible ‘newspaper’ sheets which update automatically.
Printing too has changed, with the Herald’s print run of some 4,000 copies now being printed at the Journal’s offices in Newcastle.
Very few pages of newspapers are just black and white and Paul demonstrated how coloured pages are produced from the seemingly magical use of just four coloured inks.
So the entire production of a newspaper has changed over the years and the articles themselves are now often contributions from members of the public.
But although newspapers still report on the weather and weddings, it seems unlikely that anyone will now report as the Northumberland Gazette did on May 14, 1898, that ‘a motor car had passed through Alnwick’.
This talk generated much discussion about the amount of information now available to us 24-hours-a-day from so many different sources, and the future of newspapers in this age of ever-changing technology.
Yet newspapers do survive and although their long-term future is uncertain, we were grateful to have been given a view of a world that Paul is evidently enthusiastic about and which we hope will continue.