Trail Times linotype operators Phil Smith, Dave Balfour, and Milt Cummings, in 1935. Photo: Trail Historical Society

Trail Times linotype operators Phil Smith, Dave Balfour, and Milt Cummings, in 1935. Photo: Trail Historical Society

Trail Blazers: Hot off the press

Trail Blazers is a weekly historical feature in partnership with the Trail Museum and Archives

The term “hot off the press” is something that Trail Times linotype operators Phil Smith, Dave Balfour, and Milt Cummings took very seriously.

Here the trio works away in the back room of the Times’ Cedar Avenue office, circa April 1935.

“These linotype operators were professionals at their job since these large linotypes are extremely complex,” says Addison Oberg, collections coordinator for the Trail Museum and Archives. “Even the chairs that they sat on to work the machine were custom.”

Modern equipment has changed newspaper printing practices so we are lucky to have these pictures in our archives, Oberg adds.

“There is a bonus ‘Easter Egg’ in the back of their printing room, the calendar on the wall. Which Trail business does it feature?”

Answer:

Calendar for Ye Flower Shoppe is hung on the back wall of the Trail Times, 1935.

Calendar for Ye Flower Shoppe is hung on the back wall of the Trail Times, 1935.

Trail Times today

All production ceased at the Trail Times many years ago, so all traces of the equipment in this photo are long gone.

There are presently five Times employees: two sales representatives; one part-time office administrator; one sports and news reporter who also writes for the Rossland News; and one news reporter who doubles as the editor. Reporters are also responsible for daily maintenance of the Times website: trailtimes.ca and all social media accounts.

When the newspaper first started in 1895 and up until around 2015, all staff had to be housed under one roof to make it work. Now, staff can work from anywhere using sophisticated software, provided there is an internet connection. Paginators (persons who layout the pages with stories) work in digital “hubs.” For West Kootenay papers, the hubs are located in Nelson, Grand Forks as backup, and the Okanagan. Production staff communicates electronically and sometimes by phone with editorial staff, but do not work in the same town. Times pages, for example, are laid out in the Nelson hub and digitally sent to a press in Cranbrook where they are printed. The newspapers are then trucked back to Trail for delivery. The Kootenay Pass can get jammed with traffic delays throughout the year, which is why the Times’ twice weekly editions are sometimes delayed.

Read more: Trail Blazers: Lauriente’s kept locals dressed in the finest fashion

Read more: Restored photos give a glimpse of Trail history



newsroom@trailtimes.ca

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