ANHG completes its century as newsletter of record

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The newsletter of the Australian Newspaper History Group has celebrated its 100th edition with the story of the 1979 agreement on "direct input" of journalists' text, 20 years before it was founded.

Prior to the agreement, journalists who had advanced to computers had to print out their stories, only to have union keyboard operators re-key them. The anachronism dated from the days when reporters used typewriters (or wrote in longhand) and type for printing was set by "lino ops" charged not only with "stroking" the differently-formatted (ETAOIN SHRDLU-lay) keyboards of Linotype and Intertype machines, but of keeping the turn-of-the-previous-century equipment running sweetly.

The July 1979 picture shows the industrial manager of David Syme and Co (then publisher of The Age) shaking hands with PKIU Victorian secretary Fred Nelson, watched by Keith Mattingley (Melbourne Sun News-Pictorial), Bill Hoey (The Herald and Weekly Times) and PKIU organiser Ian Wenham.

Inside, editor of the ANHG newsletter Rod Kirkpatrick - and former history columnist of GXpress Magazine - (with its founder Victor Isaacs) tells the stories of the group's foundation and curates recollections from its readers since the first issue appeared in October 1999. There is also a prodigious set of references, including a list of every cover photograph to appear since the publication started using such things following its fiftieth issue.

From someone who understands the pressures of persistent publication of newsmedia's news - GXpress itself dates to 1998 - and who recalls from the publishers' side of the table, the run-up to the UK equivalent of the 1979 agreement... "congratulations!"

Peter Coleman

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