The silence of the press

The press rooms were the real “sancta santorum” of a newspaper, a vast and imposing space in which large machines linked in a chain, at a frenetic pace, printed cut and formatted the paper editions of the traditional newspapers.

The operators, clad in special suits and with noise-resistant ear protectors, moved between inks, metal plates and high-tonnage paper cylinders, assembling them until they achieved the final product, ready to reach the readers’ hands.

It was of no use for the other scaffolds of the newspaper to fulfill their mission if the edition did not materialize on paper.
That is the finished product, the one that represents the documentary relic of an effort to search, organize and edit the news, the sum of many battles for freedom of expression, cultural enrichment and the defense of democracy.

When I think of the newspapers that have closed their print editions to become digital, as a result of the loss of income that broke their sustainability, I imagine their inert press rooms, like sleeping dinosaurs, symbolizing the golden ages of journalism.

Although they became digital and continued to exercise professional journalism focused on modern platforms from their original headquarters, the silence and solitude of their newspaper rooms rivals that of cemeteries, silent witnesses of written stories that illuminated and spread the knowledge of the humanity.

“The echo of” Stop the machines “, the famous mandate with which the prestigious newspaper El País, of Spain, stopped printing its editions in its workshops three years ago to carry it out in another, privately owned, resounded at the most critic of the Covid pandemic, infarcting the hearts of hundreds of newspapers that wrote glorious pages in the history of journalism.

  • Translated from Spanish by Randy Rodriguez.