Please pardon us during construction

By By Jayson Jacoby January 25, 2012 05:55 pm

Notice anything about the appearance of today's issue of the Herald that seemed, well, unusual?

I suspect, if you've given the paper more than a cursory glance, that your answer is "yes."

Some of these differences probably were intentional.

Others, perhaps not.

The explanation, in a word: computers.

We have new ones.

Really cool new ones, in my view.

But also really different from the machines I've been using here for almost two decades.

Both the hardware and software are new.

But it's the latter that has had by far the bigger effect.

Today's is the first issue we've published using the program InDesign.

In some respects this program is quite similar to Quark XPress, which we've used since I've worked here.

But in others — and this is the important thing — the two programs are as different as, say, a manual transmission and an automatic.

Suffice it to say that we've been feeling occasionally rather like 16-year-olds trying to get the hang of a balky clutch.

Yet, just as a well-designed five-speed can squeeze a few extra miles per gallon from a car, this switch to InDesign will confer benefits on the Herald.

It's a pretty slick program.

And we intend to employ some of its tricks later this year when we undertake a refreshing of the Herald's face, as it were.

We'll be fortunate in that endeavor to enlist the aid of experienced newspapers designers at The Bend Bulletin, the flagship paper of our company, Western Communications.

In the meantime, though, the Herald's news staff is striving to adapt to InDesign while continuing to produce the paper you're accustomed to.

"Adapt," in this case, being a euphemism for "dealing with glitches."

Matters that readers naturally take for granted — the various fonts we use for stories, headlines and photo captions, for instance — can result in nasty little pitfalls during the conversion from one program to another.

We'll try, of course, to avoid those.

But if you notice a type style that's not familiar, or see a photo that seems slightly askew, the reason, more than likely, is that we're still navigating the cyber-labyrinth of InDesign.

Fortunately, this adjustment in no way affects what we do, which is to report to you what's happening in Baker City and Baker County.

Our new tools will enable us to present that information in a more attractive — and more informative — fashion.

But, just as a carpenter must master the use of the hammer, saw and drill, we too have to hone our skills.

As the sign says: "please forgive us during construction."


Jayson Jacoby is editor of the Baker City Herald.