Ref NoOHP/66
TitlePeter Postance
Date14 December 2001
Extent1 minidisc, 1 cd, 1 file, 1 AIFF file (543 MB)
Creator NamePostance; Peter (1942-); printer and systems operative
DescriptionInterview with Peter Postance, printer and systems operative for the Guardian. Conducted by Claire Armitstead on 14 December 2001. Also includes a data sheet containing biographical details about the subject and information about the recording.

Summary contents of interview (with rough timings):

Disc 1:
Track 1
00.21 Always wanted to work for a newspaper
00.24 The Union stated that you had to do 4 years in the trade before you could work for a national paper
00.33 Started career as night manager at Buckley Press, London
01.05 Joined the Guardian in 1969 [as a compositor] for holiday cover
01.22 Took a drop in wages to work for the Guardian
01.55 At this point in time had 6 years apprentice experience and 4 years in the trade
02.29 Discusses shift patterns at the Guardian
03.51 The work was 'fairly interesting and hectic' so time went quickly
03.57 Explains the hot metal printing process
05.16 Refers to shift patters again
06.06 Contracted to work 37.5 hours but usually worked less
07.18 Extra pagination would mean extra pay - wages varied from week to week
08.03 Offered a job at the Sun, but felt the Guardian was a more secure job
09.25 There was an aspect of brand loyalty working for the Guardian
09.58 Was 27/28 years old at the time of joining the paper, one of the youngest on Fleet Street

11.30 Sharing premises [with the Sunday Times] at Gray's Inn Road, London
12.55 In 1976 moved to Farringdon Road, London
13.18 Describes the Farringdon Road warehouse, very disappointed
15.23 Was a member of the Union
18.00 Discusses printers taking a 15% pay cut [before Postance's time]

21.31 Following a good year for the Guardian in 1978/9, printers received a pay rise
23.07 How changing technology changed working life
23 42 In 1988 Wapping happened, things became much more insecure
23.58 Paying a levy of £30 a week to out of work News International staff
24.14 Knew that what happened at Wapping would happen in newspaper offices all over the world
24.26 Printers were trained to use a keyboard
25.58 At this time the Guardian offered composing staff voluntary redundancy
27.27 Describes the 'cut and paste' system
28.19 The cut and paste process was used for printing for the first time in c.1989
29.26 Introduction of desk top publishing
29.49 Started new job as systems operative in journalists' area

30.45 Printers taking on work that journalists weren't interested in i.e. formatting crosswords
32.45 New working pattern, 'journalist hours'
36.13 Career dictated by new technology
36.43 Work started being outsourced to agencies
37.43 Requested redundancy
38.19 Worked for the Guardian for 31 years
39.26 How the paper has changed over the years - more stories coming off the wire

42.32 Discusses people's reasons for buying the Guardian
43.20 Famous printing errors - stories that had gone into the paper in a hurry
45.45 How printing errors occur when type is shuffled around on the stone
46.20 Refers to a personal error printing a crossword and the complaints the paper received
49.34 Guardian went through a phase of spelling mistakes

50.12 Spelling improved when writers did their own proof reading
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsAccess via GNM Digital Repository


FormatMinidisc recording
CD recording
Printed document
Electronic record
CopyrightGuardian News & Media Ltd and Peter Postance

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