A rare Fourth of July for us newspaper folk

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Posted 7/03/17 (Mon)

Whines & Roses
By Cecile Wehrman

I can’t remember a Fourth of July in the past 18 years that I had totally off from work. That’s the premise I have been working under since about two weeks ago, when someone around here noticed the Fourth fell this year on our normal printing date.
The paper you hold in your hands -- or appearing on your computer screen -- may say it was printed on July 5, 2017, but we put our online edition up on Monday, July 3, and hopefully, the newspapers went into mailboxes Wednesday, just like always.
Here’s what funny, though: As I write this, Friday, June 30, thinking how wonderful it will be to have the Fourth of July completely and totally off -- for once -- I figured I better do a little research to see just how long it’s been since the Fourth fell on a weekend, when I probably did get to take it off.
Guess what? That happened just two years ago, in 2015! 
My research also shows, however, that there won’t be a Fourth falling on a Saturday until 2020, nor on a Sunday until 2021.

Weird year
Still, it’s a weird year for the Fourth of July. In Divide County, anyone west of a line from Ambrose to Alamo risks a hefty fine for setting off any fireworks.
As I write this, the big fireworks celebration in Tioga is still poised to go off as planned, never mind that both Divide and Williams counties are now considered to be drought disaster areas.
After the winter we had last year, with all of that snow, how the heck did this happen?
And as nice as it is to have the paper already to bed on July 3 -- and to be able to really enjoy a rare Tuesday that is not a deadline day -- I am sorry that our coverage of Tioga’s Freedom Fest will be split by the early deadline.
Hopefully, we’ll have some fireworks pictures in the paper on July 12. Fingers crossed!

Five years ago
On Sunday morning, as I was preparing to go into the office to lay out our editions for our early print deadline, Facebook sent me one of those messages that tell you you have a memory, so I clicked on it.
July 2, 2012, I was reminded, was the day I officially took over as owner and publisher of The Journal and the Tioga Tribune. Too, the five-year-old post reminded me, that was the weekend we had to move the Tioga Tribune to the Ray Mall.
I remember the scene vividly: As Freedom Fest revelers enjoyed their pursuits out on Main Street, we were winding up computer cords and shoving loose paper in boxes. It felt a little like the “bugging out” of a M.A.S.H. unit in a war zone -- and the Bakken oil field felt as chaotic as a war zone at that time.
With our leased building having been sold for the expansion of the Napa store, we had to find a new home, and none was to be had in Tioga.
Thank goodness, that’s all in the past! A year later, we were fortunate to become renters of the former Neset Consulting digs, and, truly, I hope we never have to move again!

A word about photo formats
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but will you still be able to find it on Facebook in 50 years?
This idea is one that occurred to me while editing the photos for a book we have coming out on the 100th anniversary of the Divide County Courthouse. I had no problem scanning and getting good-quality images from prints of photos taken 100 years ago, but there’s a pretty noticeable gap in photos between the mid-1960s and the early 2000s. 
Can you guess why? Photo negatives. While I am sure there are services that can still make prints from negatives, figuring out which of the thousands of negatives we have stored at The Journal might contain images appropriate for the book would have been almost impossible.
The moral of the story, I guess, is that a printed photo -- a physical artifact -- is always going to be worth a thousand words.
A negative? A Facebook post? Who knows?