The independent student media site of West Linn High School

wlhsNOW

The independent student media site of West Linn High School

wlhsNOW

The independent student media site of West Linn High School

wlhsNOW

From razorblades and line tape to nearly all web-based: Amplifier through the ages

From razorblades and line tape to nearly all web-based: Amplifier through the ages

The Amplifier has seen its fair share of changes, beginning 90 years ago in an entirely different technological age. Graeme Sandell, Language Arts teacher at Rosemont Ridge Middle School, worked on staff of the Amplifier during an era that was unlike those early beginnings or the present day.

“We did have the old Macs with the PageMaker program,” Sandell said. “But once things were printed up, it was razorblades and paste and line tape. The digital world wasn’t what it is today. We would paste down pages and ads and articles, paying attention to placement, preparing everything to go off to printing press. It was craftsmanship without the computer to do it all for us.”

Now, the Amplifier is almost entirely web-based, and when a print issue comes out, the PDF is uploaded Western Oregon Web Press, where it is printed and received again ready to be handed out. The photographs taken by today’s staff are all computerized as well, as they are taken on a digital camera and uploaded directly onto the computer. According to Sandell, on staff from 1986 to 1988, photography was much different then.

“In the days before digital photography, most of the job would involve the actual work of developing film and making prints to glue down on the layout pages,” Sandell said. “My memory may be over-exaggerating a bit, but I remember spending long hours in the darkroom, making prints and finishing the jobs of others.”

During Sandell’s reign on staff, not only was technology different, but the school was also in an entirely different shape.

“When pages and ads were printed in the Mac lab, we would have to run it to the other side of the building to lay it out on the big tables in the Amplifier classroom and office,” Sandell said. “There seemed to be a lot of running back and forth from one side of the building to the other. Today, that hall space is filled with the school library, but back then, it was a labyrinth of a hallway.”

According to Sandell, working for the Amplifier was a fulfilling experience in many aspects. It has been something that has followed him throughout his life, and has made a difference to him.

“Amplifier affected me in many ways as I did major in journalism.” Sandell said. “I think that the writing was the biggest part, though. The more writing you do, the more improvement you start to see.”

Not only did Sandell develop a relationship with writing in his life, but also sees it play out in his current teaching career. Students work the same way: the more they write, the more skilled at it they become.

Another way that Sandell was fulfilled by working on the Amplifier staff was the sheer sense of accomplishment and the many perks that he enjoyed.

“I have to talk about the desire to feel a sense of autonomy, mastery, purpose and community,” Sandell said. “I got a taste for those things working for the school newspaper, and I wanted to feast on that type of atmosphere in life.”

Sandell looks back on his career as a journalist in high school fondly, with no bad memories coming to mind. He sees the Amplifier as a rewarding activity that appealed to his instinctual desires.

“In the book Drive by Daniel Pink, he argues that humans are complex creatures, motivated by more than rewards and punishments,” Sandell said. “We want autonomy, mastery, and purpose. I would argue that ‘community’ could be added to that list as well. Working on the Amplifier was one thing I found in high school that tapped into those internal human drives.”

Though Sandell merits the current-day Amplifier on the web, he still credits the old way of doing things—physical newspapers to pass around—for their simple feeling and the fulfillment he received in helping to produce them.

“[Having an online newspaper] is sad, though, because there is such an organic feeling to picking up a newspaper, holding it in your hands, and turning through the pages,” Sandell said. “That feeling is elevated when you know you had a part in creating that finished product. You can hold your achievement in your hands and see the ink rubbing off on your fingers. You can’t sneak in and correct any mistakes, like you can with web based media. You have to take it for all its warts and its glory.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to wlhsNOW
$50
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of West Linn High School. Your contribution will allow us to continue to produce quality content by purchasing equipment, software, and continuing to host our website on School Newspapers Online (SNO).

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Mary Earp, Co Editor-in-chief
Perfectionist, outgoing and busy are just three of the many words that describe Mary Earp, senior.   Earp heard about Amplifier from her eighth grade English teacher, and has been  a part of the staff since her freshman year. Currently, she is one of the three Co-Editors-in-chiefs of the paper. Most  people have goals that they would like  to pursue in their life, and this is a true statement for Earp as well. “I want to be a doctor, and I know this sounds cheesy, but I would really like to make a difference in the world,” Earp said.  After high school,  her hopes include attending either Pomona  College or University of California, Berkeley. Outside of school, Earp has a very hectic life which includes playing co-ed soccer, being a member of the school Mock Trial team and being  the President of National Honor Society.  She is traveling to New York in late October for an international Mock Trial Competition, Empire, where she is assigned to present the closing argument and both direct and cross examinations for the trial. Some highlights of Earp’s summer were hanging out with friends and taking a vacation to North Carolina, where she visited family and spent some time at the warm sunny beach. If Earp could visit any place two places in the world, she would choose “Italy and Machu Picchu, Peru, because the scenery is beautiful,” Earp said. Her favorite year in high school so far was junior year. “It  challenged me the most and broadened my horizons,” Earp said. So far in her senior year, the class Earp most enjoys is AP Environmental Science, “It’s very interesting, enlightening, and I have a great teacher,” Earp said. Earp’s senior year is  packed with AP Environmental Science, AP Calculus BC and AP English, leaving her with a long night of work to complete.   The most challenging part of taking these classes “is all of the work involved,” Earp said. So far, her last year in high school has been hectic and full of work, yet she is excited and looking forward to all of the opportunities that lie ahead in her future.
Donate to wlhsNOW
$50
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All wlhsNOW Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
From razorblades and line tape to nearly all web-based: Amplifier through the ages