About J.V. Reistrup

J.V. (for John Valdemar) Reistrup is an experienced writer and editor who originally set up this blog as a class assignment in a Web course he took as part of an effort to see whether skills learned over decades in the print media could be transferred into the 21st century. The blog has lain fallow for months, but it is now being updated from time to time at the urging of younger generations interested in those times with newspapers, newsletters and magazines–particularly newspapers. Emails recalling that era prompted son Olaf to suggest that these stories be posted on a blog (see his e-mail below).

Comments and contributions are welcome, particularly from fellow recovering ink-stained wretches.

— J.V. Reistrup

P.S. For more about Me, you can click on Newspapers and read “Surrounded by Words” or my LinkedIn profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-v-reistrup-3363b824

From: Olaf Reistrup
Subject: a newspaper story a day
To: “John V. Reistrup”
Cc: “Reistrup, James A.” , “Christine Bottagaro”
Date: Tuesday, October 12, 2010, 10:04 AM

Dear Dad:

Would you please define and write up one interesting, sad or funny story about the following:

1. pneumatic tube messaging
2. the unions
3. editorial board fights
4. bad fact checkers
5. tabloid layout vs. traditional
6. times roman vs. helvetica
7. Rupert Murdoch
8. manual typewriters and selectrics
9. white out
10. lead type
11. the presses – the noise, smell, when they ran, how much it cost to stop them
12. the ink – how much was ordered at a time, any spills, etc.
13. funny “codes” in stories
14. obituary writers
15. the day Doonesbury (or some other big cartoon strip, like the Far Side or Calvin and Hobbes) was introduced



6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. catherine wolhowe
    Oct 18, 2010 @ 10:03:12

    Good word: fallow.


  2. David Sturrock
    Oct 30, 2010 @ 19:49:59

    Looking forward to reading your future blogposts!


  3. Sid McKeen
    Mar 21, 2011 @ 05:48:26


    Came across your blog while looking for the date of the strike by compositors on the old Gazette in Worcester…what flashed into mind was the Saturdays we spent around the news desk — the late Ken Botty, you and I and possibly Ed Ballantine — and the idle hours we filled waiting for the final edition to come up from the press room by writing our own folk songs involving people then in the news. My best memory is of a tune composed to celebrate JFK and the PT 109. Can you recall any lines from that opus?


    • jvreistrup
      Apr 29, 2011 @ 00:00:19

      Hi Sid–

      I not only cannot remember any lines from that song, but I was surprised to learn of a strike by the compositors. Were they members of the union before 1962, which was when I left the Gazette? I never thought to, because I remember once when I knocked over a galley of type and, to make amends, carefully put each line back in place. At the Washington Post, the ITU members would have just thrown all the type in the hell box once it had been defiled by an editor’s touch.


    • jvreistrup
      Sep 12, 2015 @ 00:18:23

      Sid–I’m afraid my memory is spotty and I cannot remember any of the unforgettable lines from our compositions. What I remember best are the work habits of my mentor Fritz Tobin. I think I’ll write them up under the general heading of Watering Holes.


  4. Sid McKeen
    Feb 28, 2016 @ 10:59:32

    Ah, Fritz Tobin…he had a habit of repairing to the Eden bar “for lunch” when he was news editor. He always told us to “call me at my other office if somebody shoots the President.” On the memorable day JFK was shot in Dallas, it fell to me to make that call. It took a lot of talking to convince him it had really happened.


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