VIEW FROM THE SIDELINES: Time to look at RPI

The start of a new year brings lots of promises to ourselves, like getting organized.

That’s been a constant goal for nearly 40 years, trying to get more done in less time.

Our society does the same, hence the creation of computing, cellphones and Internet.

Early on we covered three main schools – Omak, Okanogan and Tonasket – along with anything else sportsy like hunting, fishing or outhouse races (winners and losers, so it’s a sport).

The paper came out once a week with maybe three pages for sports.

Every Sunday I would call coaches to get information on the previous week’s high school games before hunkering down to write them all up.

Mondays were for getting the stories onto pages. Since I was new, I’d be at the paper way into the next morning.

Fast forward to now, where the newspaper covers up to 13 schools – the big three Omak, Okanogan and Tonasket - along with Oroville, Brewster, Pateros, Liberty Bell, Bridgeport, Lake Roosevelt, Republic, Curlew, Almira/Coulee-Hartline and, when we can get the information, Inchelium.

I seldom, if ever, use a phone because there is no time to track down a coach or make a long call. I could accomplish a lot more in those precious minutes.

Emails rule now, with me sending requests for scores, stats and comment for the previous day’s games.

As the information arrives, I type up summaries for the next paper – we come out twice a week, Tuesday and Saturday (that one is wrapped around The Wenatchee World).

Photography has changed, from spending hours developing everyone’s film to downloading digital images before working them quickly, in the light, in PhotoShop.

Layout changed from hot type, which I was lucky to just miss, to cold type where after stories were typed, processed on a machine onto strips of paper, trimmed, waxed and placed on big sheets of paper.

We suffered cuts from X-Acto knives and sore knuckles pressed onto the paper.

The paper would be photographed onto huge negatives that would in turn be burned onto aluminum plates placed on an offset press.

Now we never touch paper until it is the finished product. Of late, the paper has been laid out by Andy, a graphic artist, who is in Salem, Ore.

Stories, much shorter than what I used to produce, are written, saved in digital format, edited and placed onto a page.

Photos and headlines are inserted where required.

Former owners John E. Andrist and Mary Koch must have seen the future, because they were constantly on me to shorten my stories.

There were lots of reasons for that even then, from people not wanting to read a novel about a game to getting more information onto a page.

Mary used to hold up that strip of paper with a story on it and snip off the bottom third.

You see, if you are writing in true newspaper pyramid style, top down, the end of a story should contain the least important information.

I’d watch all that work float into a garbage can.

Now I am more organized and write shorter stories.

Al Camp is the sports editor at The Chronicle. Email him at sports@omakchronicle.com.

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