The Press: News by Computer

The city rooms of many American newspapers are cousins in dishevelment: battered typewriters, mounds of gnawed pencils and crumbling gum erasers, a perpetual blizzard of paper. Nor would turn-of-the-century newsmen have any trouble recognizing many contemporary composing rooms with their mastodonic Linotype machines (first used in 1886) that engorge hot metal and spit out lines of type at a lumbering pace. Of all commercial activities, few have seemed more immune to technological progress than the production of daily papers. But the pace of change is now accelerating. In a small but growing number of offices, reporters are writing stories, and editors...

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