Madison County Opinion...

JULY 30, 2003

By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
July 30, 2003

Frankly Speaking
Teen rebellions have gone about as far as they can go
They think I am too old to understand. Well, let me tell you that teenage fads are older than I, and that is going back a while. The problem is that each generation has to outdo the previous one, and the choices are becoming absurd.
The big fads from my youth in the fifties involved girls in short shorts rolled up a couple of inches or in poodle skirts that reached the floor. Shortly thereafter came the sack dress that left some guys wondering if she was in style or was he in trouble?
For us guys, we went with a couple of what were then outlandish hair styles.
The flat-top emerged at that time, followed by the Mohawk. I could not wear either because my hair, when I had hair, was much too fine to stand up.
So I wore the other strange style, the ducktail.
Just as they do now, teen males used clothing to make personal statements.
By my time the raccoon coat was long gone. Of course it was usually too hot in the South to wear them anyway. So we made a daring change in our dress code. We started wearing our belt buckles on our right hip! Well, we had to do something to set ourselves apart from our parents.
As I said, the progression of teenage rebellion has reached the point of absurdity. Rather than wearing their belt buckles on their hips, they wear them around their knees. Or they grind them into little pieces and imbed them in their faces. Rather than flattops and ducktails, they paint their hair pink and green.
Girls today are likely to wear black lipstick and nail polish. While girls of my age wore short jeans that showed off their legs, today’s girls wear “hip huggers” that reveal most of their bellies. Cleavage is still popular among both genders; girls in front, guys in back.
Obviously, today’s teen rebellions have gone about as far as they can go. So what will their kids do when it comes their time to rebel? Perhaps they will go the other direction. How shocked will this generation be when their kids abandon rap music for the great masters like Brahms and Beethoven? How much confusion will it cause when they demand modest, functional clothing to wear to school? What about language? Will the parents understand when their kids leave the room rather than listen to TV actors using profanity?
The whole purpose of teenage rebellion is to show themselves as separate from their parents. What better way to shock today’s generation than by adopting a modest lifestyle?
Don’t laugh. It just might happen.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at His e-mail address is

By Zach Mitcham
The Madison County Journal
July 30, 2003

From the Editor's Desk
In newspapers, ‘dummy’ is a verb
And no, I don’t mean it’s a work motto, such as, “I’m gonna dummy up this story real good” or “you need to dummy down that sentence.”
Maybe, like me, you hear the word and think of that old show and the gravelly voice of Fred Sanford as he scolds his son Lamont: “Why did you let Rollo take the truck, you dummy?’
Naw, our “dummy” is different.
Before a news page is printed or even put together, it’s a “dummy sheet.” And the process of placing the ads on the page before any news content is added is called “dummying.” I’ve asked around the newspaper office this week for the origin of the unflattering newspaper term, but I never got a good answer.
But I know you can’t be a dummy to dummy. The “dummy-er” or “dummy-person” — let’s just call her “Sharon” or “Vickie” (sorry Sharon and Vickie) — uses a computer program to fit all the various-shaped ads on a minituare version of the newspaper pages and make sure that there’s room — but not too much room — for news and pictures to surround the ads.
A profitable newspaper has about 60 percent ads to 40 percent news. Papers that fall well short of this ratio are not able to bring home any profit above the expense cost of paper, ink, computers, employees, etc.
I used to look at newspapers wondering how they got all that stuff to fit just right. Now I know it fits, just never exactly right. Things are cut to make space and added to fill holes.
This is just one of the headaches in the process of putting together a paper. This production involves many who do a lot of work without ever getting a byline on a story.
Before the dummying begins, ad representatives sell the ads that go in the paper, no small task. Then the ad layout staff designs those ads to the satisfaction of the paying customer.
Meanwhile, the office takes calls for classifieds, subscriptions, etc. The news staff, in the meantime, goes to meetings, ballgames and various events. Calls are made and taken. Notes are scribbled. News articles and announcements are typed into a central server, along with photos that are scanned and “corrected” to show more real-to-life colors.
Let’s pause a moment for a brief newspaper identification:
“The Madison County Journal is produced each week in Jefferson, the central office of a four-newspaper chain called MainStreet Newspapers, which also includes The Jackson Herald, The Commerce News and The Banks County News.”
O.K., now we’re back.
Each MainStreet paper divides news into separate categories, including “front” or hard news, “school,” “social,” “editorial,” “crime,” “church” and “obituaries.” (Each MainStreet paper also shares a classified section.) Hard copies of stories and pictures are placed in a color-coded folder to distinguish in which paper the item will be published (Journal folders are red.)
On Mondays, I look over the stories and estimate how much space we will need for each news category and tell Sharon how much space is necessary. This is not an exact science, because the number of ads sold, the sizes of the ads and the quantity of news material varies from week to week. The person dummying the pages must also keep in mind a healthy news-ad ratio determined by the paper’s management.
Basically, some weeks we don’t have enough news to fill up the paper. But more often, we don’t have enough room to run everything.
The rat race that is Tuesday begins with the appearance of the orange dummy sheets, when we rush to get all of the pages composed on the Quark computer program. In this process we draw “text” and “photo” boxes on a computer screen, trying to arrange the pages quickly, but in an appealing way. We can adjust the text in three ways: by point size, leading (the space between lines of text) or kerning (the space between letters of text).
Once the page is composed, we print out an 11” by 17” version (70 percent of the actual size in the paper) of the page to be proofread. The pages are marked in red ink, then given back to the one composing the page to make corrections. (Note: Sometimes articles can be cut off in mid-sentence. If you ever see this, it most likely means the person forgot to check the end of the story after corrections were made. Sometimes the addition of a letter or two can bump text out of the visible box on the computer screen.)
Once the page is composed, proofed and corrected, it is sent to a cranky machine called “The Imagesetter.” Lift the hood on the enormous, rectangular machine and you’ll see a mix of spinning
For the rest of this article see this weeks Madison County Journal

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