Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Showing its Age

"The Age, Melbourne’s oldest newspaper, turns 150 on October 17 this year. Since 1854 it has played a pivotal role in the life of Victoria, mirroring its transformation from gold rush boom state, to birthplace of Federation, through two world wars, a depression and the modern era, to the vibrant place it is today..."

Read all about it here. The online material includes a good chronology of Age-related events; front pages, articles and photographs are included throughout the timeline. Definitely worth a visit if you're interested in Australian newspaper history.

I'm beginning to get comfortable with looking at our newspapers from the 1940s to the 1990s. For a few weeks there, I found the layouts pretty scary. Now, I can look at a page and know which decade it's from. I'm also beginning to appreciate how easy those of us in the age of modular layout have it... Look at the front page of The Australian in 1964, for example. Imagine taking a blank layout sheet, plus that list of stories and pictures, and being required to dog-leg them all over the place because a busy layout was considered a dynamic, content-rich one. It's like a complex jigsaw puzzle and, in this case, the layout sub-editor probably had little time to produce it; The Australian had to be rushed off to the airport in Canberra early each night so it could be on news-stands around the country by morning. I'll be talking to the designer on Monday morning, so I'm hoping to get lots of details on the hows and whys of newspaper layout - and starting a national paper from scratch - in 1964.

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