How Things Have Changed: Publishing the Weekly in 1948

From the December 2019 Special Anniversary Magazine Dedicated to the 120th Anniversary of the Hairenik and the 85th Anniversary of the Armenian Weekly

If you were to take a moment to think about how technology has transformed the newspaper industry, the internet would probably be what first comes to mind, right? What you probably didn’t think about were the enormous, revolutionary changes that took place before the rise of cyberspace: the pre-digital era of putting a newspaper together. 

Nowadays, all an editor needs to publish the Hairenik or the Armenian Weekly is a computer and an internet connection. But there was a time—thankfully well before my tenure—when it involved several human hours of work, using heavy machinery to turn text into custom metal type.

To give readers an idea of what it was putting the paper together seven decades ago, we’ve decided to republish four photographs, along with their original captions, which appeared in the Feb. 26, 1948 commemorative issue of the Hairenik Weekly (later the Armenian Weekly), celebrating the English-language newspaper’s 15th anniversary.

Pictorial Story of How the Weekly is Printed and Mailed to Subscribers 52 Times a year

Step 1: Dickran Demirjian, veteran Hairenik linotyper, sets the material submitted to the print shop by the editors. Working in the background (far rear) are Hampartzoum Khazarian and San Haidostian (head and shoulders showing) the two other Hairenik linotypers. Absolute deadline for material is Tuesday morning.

Step 2: Mr. Mugurditch Der Avedisian, printing plant foreman, starts work on setting the linotype material into page form following a “dummy” submitted by the editors. Mr. Der Avedisian has been with the Hairenik for 26 years. He is a skilled worker. Forms are usually locked up late Wednesday night.

Step 3: The locked forms are taken down to the presses in the basement of the building, where Haig Bondjookian sets them on the flat-bed presses and prints. This takes place every Thursday afternoon. In this picture, Bondjookian stands by his press during printing of a “Daily” issue.

Step 4: The printed Weeklies then go to the mailing department, where they are folded, stenciled, put into mail bags and sent out to the local post office. Calust Eynatian (right) is shown passing the Weeklies through his automatic stenciller. The late Kevork Berberian is shown filling a bag with Weeklies. 

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Rupen Janbazian

Rupen Janbazian is the former editor of The Armenian Weekly. His writings primarily focus on politics, human rights, community, literature, and Armenian culture. He has reported from Armenia, Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh), Turkey, Canada, the United States, and Western Armenia. He has served on the local and national executives of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) of Canada and Hamazkayin Toronto, and served as the administrator of the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Toronto. Janbazian also taught Armenian History and Creative Writing at the ARS Armenian Private School of Toronto, and has worked on several translations.

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