2021-06-23 Ronnie Willis

The Newsroom Throughout the Years: From Typewriters to Naviga Writer

Author: Ronnie Willis, Director of Product Strategy

The most memorable holiday gift I received as a child was given to me when I was 8. It was a Smith-Corona Sterling typewriter. The manual typewriter featured a selector for black or red ribbon and came with its own special carrying case.

Along with the typewriter, I received a textbook called “20th Century Typewriting.” I dutifully did the “f j f j fj fj fj” exercises, learned the Home Row, and soon I was batting out my very own neighborhood newspaper and going through reams of 8 ½-by-11-inch paper.

Of course, the tap-tap-taptaptap-tap-tap-DING!-swoosh-tap-taptap of a classic typewriter is a sound many of us are too young to ever have actually heard, except maybe in old movies or on television shows. I’m old enough to have been excited about getting a typewriter for Christmas, but I’m young enough to have never used one professionally. By the time I was working in a real newsroom, the typewriters had already been replaced by that newsroom’s first computer system.

On National Typewriter Day, however, it’s worth noting that the form factor of the laptop you use today, and that QWERTY keyboard you see on every device from your desktop to your smartphone, was inspired by those Olivettis and Underwoods from the past. When you’re using Naviga Writer, we still say you’re “typing,” even though the letters appear on a screen rather than being smacked onto a piece of paper with a typebar and ribbon.

And while changing the workflow status on an article in Writer may not be quite as satisfying as pulling a piece of paper out of the carriage and handing it to an editor, it’s way easier to link a YouTube video in Naviga Writer than to try to attach it with a paper clip.

In fact, that’s not the only way that Naviga Writer helps make life in the newsroom easier. Today’s modern technology also allows you to:

  • Write, edit, and add enrichments for specific media
  • Easy ability to tag articles for all channels
  • Focus on content first with a headless or decoupled CMS
  • Provide transparency and efficiency to daily and weekly story planning with Newsroom Planner integrated as part of the Naviga Content Platform

I can’t say I’m sorry to have missed the typewriter days in my newsroom jobs, because I’d probably still have correction fluid on my fingertips. And I doubt that there are too many of us who would trade Naviga Writer for a clattering Selectric.

My old Sterling was lost to history, replaced by an electric typewriter in high school and by PCs ever since. But you can imagine my joy when my Gen-Z daughter sent me a picture of a typewriter she found at an antique store in the Carolinas last fall… a Smith-Corona Sterling, with a selector for black or red ribbon and its own special carrying case.

Interested in learning more about Naviga Writer and the Naviga Content solution? Check out our website or contact us today.