Newsprint: Ink Stains and Goss Presses

Photographer Peter Crabtree takes us into the belly of the beast...er...pressroom to get a look at how the Hi-Desert Star newspaper is printed. This is the latest installment of Peter's series "Newsprint," featuring photos from small town newspapers across the county.

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Do you feel the need check your hands for ink stains after laying down your iPad in the morning? Me neither. But it wasn’t always that way. For the longest time, people got their news from mashed-up trees that someone wrote on, folded, plastic-bagged, and drove to their house. That was super common!

Whether or not those were the good ol’ days is an argument to be had later, and somewhere else. But it’s hard to not feel nostalgic for at least the idea of getting up early, making coffee and thumbing your way through the Hi-Desert Star. That’s still an option for people in Yucca Valley, California. Peter Crabtree visited the press room of the paper while on a road trip to photograph small town newspapers across the country. Peter met pressman Tyler Ericsson, who still gets ink on his hands. Here’s what Peter said about this photo:

This photo of Tyler Ericsson, a pressman at the Hi-Desert Star in Yucca Valley, California, speaks to me of the physicality of newspaper production. There’s nothing virtual about the ink and grime and grease involved. And yet in the midst of all that, there are grace notes, like the light and reflections on the printing plates.

I love everything about this picture. I love that it let us, the audience, peek behind the curtain into a hidden world, I love the look of the old machines, I love the gesture Ericsson is making, reaching for a plate. It is, for some reason, reassuring to me that jobs that deal in the tangible are still around. It’s not all pixels and finger-crossing.

For good measure here’s a video that shows this press, or one nearly identical, is operation. It’s memorizing.

 

The Hi-Desert Star serves California’sMorongo Basin. It has a circulation of 7,800, according to newspaper data service Cision, and arrives on news stands every Wednesday and Saturday.

Yucca Valley had just north of 8,200 households for 22,000 people during the 2010 census. The town sits in the Mojave Desert and is adjacent to both the San Bernadino Mountains and Joshua Tree National Park.

Locals and tourists alike seem to enjoy nearby unincorporated Pioneertown, a recreated old west town, complete with gunfighters and a saloon. The town was funded, in part, by Roy Rogers, and was the location for some western TV shows.

 

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