It was a turning point in my life at the end of year 1981, when I decided to go for a change after a successful 20 years of marketing experience. The reason behind the idea was the fatigue of the long travelling experiences, the growing age and stable family life.
A small piece of advertisement in the English daily 'The Assam Tribune' on November 14, 1981, requiring sub editors for an upcoming English daily news paper attracted my attention and I did not make a second thought and applied for the same. Within a month the entire formalities were completed and out of 42 candidates, who appeared for the written test and interviews, six were selected for the job including myself.
On 16th December 1981, the team joined the third English daily newspaper published from Guwahati, 'News Star' which hit the stand on 30th January 1982. The Assam Tribune was widely circulated English Daily during that time. The second English daily Assam Express had no much impact. 'News Star' came up with high hopes based on the enthusiasm of the 'young team' and first multi-color publication in the north-eastern region.
'Young team' means all my colleagues, who joined were at least 20-22 years junior to me in age group. The print media in those days had to sustain on hard practices. We had to work under much pressure and maintain quality of the news and news paper. Resources for news collection were limited. Although the news agencies like Press Trust of India (PTI) and United News of India (UNI) were functioning well to provide national and international news, for the regional and local news we had to depend on the reports of our station wise correspondents and staff reporters.
Computers had not appeared into the region till then. Composing of the matters were to be done in different ways. We had to get our news items for inside pages through 'mono' and 'lino' machines, which were very slow. Besides, we had to get the headlines of the news composed manually. These practices are no more in existence. Proof readers had tough job in correcting the news, before the final prints were given to the layout artists for pasting on the layout sheets.
For the first and last pages we had to depend on our compositors working on the Photo-Type-Setting (PTS) machines. The PTS was different type of composing, which had to be done on computer-like machines and then prints were taken on bromide papers just like photographs. The process of corrections on the bromide paper was much more difficult. The letters for correction had to be taken afresh and then pasted making the job more difficult. The compositors and layout artists had to remain on the duty till the final layouts were handed over to machine room.
After the layouts were ready, the same were handed over to the film makers, who used to prepare films and then the plate makers used to take prints of the films on aluminum plates, before they were fitted on printing machine rollers. Rotary machines had not entered the market till then. We had to depend on the sheet-fed machine. One Sub-editor was to stay on duty during the night, as the final print orders were to be given on the machine proof only. Machine men had to complete printing of all sheets of the newspaper in time under much pressure.
Early morning, the newspaper?s circulation team had to pick up the copies for distribution among the agents and the customers. Once the copies were sent out, the work for the next day?s publication began.
Now, the things have become easy. With the introduction of computers and internet neither there is shortage of news nor the people have to wait for completing the job. By the midnight almost all the jobs are completed and the copies are distributed by circulation department of the newspapers.
Proof reading layout etc are prepared on the computers very conveniently. Because of the developing technology facilities at present more than two dozen daily newspapers in different languages are published from Guwahati itself. It has generated a large scale employment opportunities in various sections of print media. Computers, Internet, photography etc; have become the backbone of print media.