Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
It was a beautiful opening day at the Minnesota State Fair. I headed down early, and arrived more than five hours early for my afternoon shift as "Editor for the Day" in the Newspaper Museum in Heritage Square.
It wasn't anything like I expected, although it was as rewarding as I'd hoped.
Instead of hiding in the office or in my car, huddled over my computer getting work done, I got out and mingled. I met and talked with several interesting people out in the Fair before settling into my corner of the museum to answer questions.
I don't know how many times I repeated "Thanks for coming" as people exited through the doors at my right. People came to see the working presses, in the back of the museum. Some stood to watch the linotype machines, one from 1903, the other from 1962, click-clacking lead letters into single lines of type. Kids loved making their own printers' caps out of a newspaper.
Several of the visitors who stopped to chat with me were proud of their hometown papers. I was quick to point out, each time, that the best way to keep your hometown paper is to thank the businesses that advertise in it. It's simple, but it works, and it's important.
A few of our readers popped in to say "hi". (You all know who you are.) Thanks!
Most of all, I gained an appreciation for the good old days of newspapering. Using the old machines, I think we'd have to write the news two weeks ago in order to have enough time to set the type with hot lead, and print it out one page at a time on a hand-fed press. I like the smell of the ink and lead and oil; but I'm really happy that my hands stay clean doing our newspaper on computer. It took several people four days to put out a single, four-page newspaper for the Fair.
The Fair runs through Monday (Labor Day) and there's still time to visit the museum.