Iíve been asked to speak at one of our elementary schools on career day next month.

Iím really excited about explaining to elementary school students how the production of a newspaper has changed over the years.

Even during my lifetime at the Press Gazette, methods for putting stories, ads, and photos together is so different.

In the old daysÖ1995 is where it began for meÖwe typed our stories, printed them, proofed them, corrected any errors, printed them again, cut them out, ran the paper through a waxing roller and then stuck the stories on a page. Once we had the page together the way we wanted it to be, we sent it back to the dark room where they would make plates to go on the press.

Now, itís all done on computer. I receive stories for the paper in many forms. Even though we ask people to email their news to us, we still have some who donít use computers. They hand-deliver a hand-written or typed story, obituary, anniversary, or something similar and it is my job to type them and get them in the right format for the newspaper so everything is consistent.

As you might imagine, we get hundreds of emails a day. Some items come in on the fax machine. Some come from Facebook.

It will be fun to show children the differences between then and now, tell them how conveniences affect the news.

For instance, before digital cameras came along, we would shoot a photo with 35 mm film, run it to a one-hour photo lab and get the photos turned in here as fast as possible to the editor. After he chose what he wanted, we had to scan it and adjust it into a certain format so it could be reproduced in the newspaper.

We actually ďheld the pressĒ a time or two when a late-breaking story or photo would present itself. We had to wait for the one-hour photo to develop and print the picture.

When I first began working here, I was so worried about doing a good job, when I was sent to the L&N Depot in Bagdad for a photo of the caboose, I brought back about 20 shots of it. I took 20 shots of a non-moving train car. It was pretty ridiculous. Other than a couple of different angles, it was all pretty much the same and my boss frowned at me.

Shooting a photo for the newspaper back then was much more challenging than it is now. Donít get me wrong, it is still a tough job at times. But using film compared to digital photography for newspaper reproduction, well, itís no comparison - by far much less expensive. There is more of a chance to get a great shot Ė even an inexperienced photographer has a pretty good chance if they donít give up easily.

In my time as a photographer for the newspaper, Iíve shot fires, accidents, country music stars, politicians, children, animals, bad weather, hurricane and tornado damage, hockey, football, parades, but by far, I think the photo I have that impressed me the most was completely by chance. I was shooting a photo of a rainbow when lightning struck right in front of the rainbow.

I couldnít believe my luck in getting it.

So get out your cameras for Thanksgiving and make a memory!

You never know what youíll capture.

Happy Thanksgiving!