VDTs, Computers Revolutionize Crimson Newsroom

Quiet Hum Replaces Typewriter's Clickety-Clack

The clickety-clack of manual typewriter's which kept the Crimson newsroom buzzing for more than 100 years finally came to an end yesterday.

The reason: a new computer system that fully integrates the writing, editing, and typesetting of the newspaper was installed this week.

Under the new system. Crimson writers enter their news articles, opinion pieces, and editorials into a video display terminal, which acts as a word-processor.

These stories can then called up by editors, who edit them on the screen and then, with the flick of a key, send them over cable to a machine that typesets the articles.

The VDTs as the video terminals are commonly known--are expected to significantly streamline the production of the Crimson.

Before the arrival of the machines, Crimson editors would write their stories on typewriters: these would then be edited and submitted to typists who would enter the articles into a typesetter.

"While the new system will undoubtedly take some getting used to, it should soon make the production of the paper far faster and more efficient," said Crimson President Michael J. Abramowitz '85. "Of course, the system will have no effect at all on our reporting and editorial policy."

Components of the new system include nine display terminals, two hard-disk drives which store articles, and a controller to direct the flow of material. These parts are connected together through hard wire, which is hooked up to two typesetters.

The cost of the system--made by the Mycro-Tck company of Wichita, Kansas--was more than $70,000, paid for out of the Crimson's permanent improvement fund. The system was installed this week by Mycro-Tck technicians Mark Walker and Jeffrey Zuercher.

Crimson summer staffers were taught how to use the system by Mycro-Tck instructor Tammy Love. Upon their return in the fall, the rest of the staff will undergo similar instruction.

The arrival of the new system necessitated the partial renovation of the Crimson building, located at 14 Plympton St. A new partition has been built in the newsroom to house the machines, in order to provide a cleaner and more secure working environment.

Patrick R. Sorrento, Crimson shop foreman for 17 years, said of the new system. "I think its great. I hope it works the way it's supposed to." When asked if it would improve the newspaper, he responded. "It better."