May 11, 2009

"...and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent..."

Hiatus over. My apologies. I broke from column writing last month because I took an opportunity to move up from the basement suite I was living in for three years to the main floor of the house. As I edit this sunlight is streaming in, and the breeze is wafting through. After being underground for so long, it's amazing that such simple things are so enjoyable.

April was a month of changes. I consider my move to be a positive one for me personally. Seeing many co-workers being laid off and hearing about my hometown being rocked by an earthquake is not.

Yes, the east coast of Newfoundland was indeed rocked by a 3.3 earthquake on the Richter Scale on Tuesday, April 28. There was little damage done, mostly noise (like a rumble of thunder). I was told that the family cat went berserk the same evening, as animals are more sensitive to tremors than humans. A local geologist assured me that there is nothing to worry about. "The Avalon is supposed to be stable, not much to worry about - an isolated incident caused by minor deep internal slippage," he said. The quake's epicentre was somewhere near Whitbourne.

But there were concerns of a tsunami situation similar to the 1929 Burin tidal wave that flattened the peninsula.

Actually, the earthquake is not really bad news - it's more of a curiosity. The real bad news this month was the last run of the Meridian Booster's newspaper press.

Taking the time difference into account, roughly while the Rock was rockin', I was on the Booster's web press. The Newfoundland Inkslinger had the somewhat sad honour of helping print the last Booster on the Lloydminster presses. I've never been on that particular press before, and had no experience up to that point. I just caught the stacks of papers as the machine rolled them out. It's a spectacular thing to experience as the huge machine thrums and the newsprint is sailing over your head in a continuous sheet.

From here on in, the Booster will be printed on the Edmonton Sun presses. Company changes dictated it. The recession and the resulting challenge due to the weakened economy is attributed to be the reason.

The past few days have been spent adjusting to working in a large empty space once populated by over a dozen people. Voices echo. Newspapers and other news media are an uncertain industry as the Internet and other technologies fulfill humanity's need for instant gratification.

However, presses of a different sort will still run at the Booster. The b'ys in the Meridian Printing's commercial printing department will continue to serve you. Meridian Printing online brochure.

If you're a concerned loyal reader, I want to assure you that the Meridian Booster will continue to service Lloydminster and the coverage area. Reporters will be out and about, gathering the news. The pulse of the web press has been silenced by circumstances beyond our control, but the noble work of the newspaper marches on.

Perseverance!

December 16, 2008: Sun Media announces workforce reductions

November 7, 2008: Pierre Karl Peladeau assumes control of Sun Media