In our changing world, it’s comforting and also a little disconcerting to note that some things don’t change in the publishing world. The first-ever Rocky Mountain Collegian was published in Fort Collins, Colo., in 1891. The first lines of the first editorial read:
After much delay, resulting from a number of causes, the Collegian has at last made it’s appearance…
The newspaper that day consists a transcript of John Walsh’s apparently award-winning oratory on the nature of progress, of print ads with bold type, some gossip and a bunch of briefs. There is even a suggestion that fellow students bring newsworthy bits to the attention of the editor.
Sounds familiar, right?
It would be kind of awesome to note how steady the undercurrents of our profession if not for the fact that so much else about modern life is so very different. Our modes of transportation, our food production, our work lives, even our other modes of communication are so very different. It’s not just that “a number of causes” sometimes conspire to make us late; it’s that so much of what we do is rooted in behaviors two centuries past. That isn’t so good.
Incidentally, the list of Collegian editors includes the current managing editor of the Denver Post, the current public editor of the New York Times and yours truly.