From splutters to seconds: The transformation of journalism


“It was exciting to watch the tape roll.”


When a reader has a problem with a story in one of the most read daily newspapers in Turkey “Hürriyet”, all eyes turn to Faruk Bildirici who is 57 years old and been a journalist fort he last 30 years. Today he offers his experience as an ombudsman. “I am one of the journalists that got to feel the times change with me. I feel more advantaged compared to the ones that opened their eyes to computers. Because my experiences prevents me from sanctifying technology. Witnessing technological transformation allows me to be aware of the  fact that devices are only transmitters which make my job easier but essential parts are still writing and intellectual production.”.

“I started journalism in 1980 in Milliyet newspaper in the Ankara offices. Typewriter and telex noises would welcome you as soon as you entered the door. They were so loud that we would ask our colleauges to stop for a while during important phone calls.

It was completely another deal to talk on the phone. If you were talking to somewhere in the same city you could hardly hear over the splutter from the disturbences on the line. If you were talking to somewhere out of town you would have to apply to PTT (General Directorate of Turkish Post) and wait for hours to be connected. When we were reporting out of Ankara we would make someone write the stroy down for us by shouting over the phone.

We used to write the news with  typewriters in the bureau and send it with telex to İstanbul where the central office was. The person who was in charge of the telex would create holes on a yellow paper and send it to İstanbul by that yellow tape when there was a connection. It was exciting to watch that tape roll.

The cassettes we used while doing an interview used to weigh a couple of kilos. We were so happy when the small recorders were invented around 1980’s because we could carry them around in our pockets.

Photos were sent to the central office as prints or film rolls via mail.When we were out of town, photojournalists would look for a local photographer to wash the films and print them. They would get so happy when they found an open shop. Then when we started to use a device called telefax. It would scan a printed photo and send it via the telephone line. But it was very inconvenient because it took over 15 minutes  to send one photo and sometimes, when the line disconnected,  we would have to start again.

The invention of the fax was a great innovation for us. It made sending and receiving news so much easier. Next, pagers and cell phones eased our communication. At first, it was really difficult to get in contact with a journalist when he was out of the office. Cell phones resolved this problem.

Computers were a revolution to my journalism career considering that it began with typewriters. Computers started as giant devices attached to tables, they got smaller with time and finally turned into tablets. Now we can send articles and photos in a few seconds. Today, a journalist spends most if his time creating rather than thinking about how to send his creation. I feel glad to have gone through this technologic transformation.”




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