Thirty years in a newspaper printing house
Newspaper printing house
Aytaj Mammadli, Elmaddin Shamilzade
Aftandil Ahmedov has been printing newspapers for thirty years. He remembers well the golden period of print media in Azerbaijan in the ’90s. He says that in those days a few dozen newspapers were printed per week with a total circulation between 200-300,000 copies, but this has dropped to just a handful with a few thousand subscribers.
But despite this, he believes that newspapers will never die. Even though he himself doesn’t read them.
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Midnight. The printing house of the Futbol+ newspaper is the only bright place in this dark part of Sharifzade Street.
Printers come to work at 8 pm and work until 3 am to ensure newspapers are delivered to newsstands early in the morning. How many of them will be sold, how many will be “returned”, is another story…
Editing is the first stage in newspaper printing. He says that they bring him films printed on a printer, and his job is to place these films in a special machine that transfers texts and photographs to create a layout for a future newspaper. After that, he washes these layouts with a special liquid, and texts and photographs appear on the metal plate.
“Each film reflects a certain color in the newspaper. Every millimeter matters here. If the films of different colors do not match perfectly, you will read absolutely nothing in the newspaper. Imagine if in a photograph of a person his eyes, mouth, nose change places.
“Such accuracy tires a person. You feel it when, late at night, it burns in your eyes, pulling you to sleep.
But despite the fact that he has to inhale various chemical odors for hours, work under the bright light of high-voltage lamps, and take into account every micron, the past thirty years have not dulled his love of the job.
“I’m very attached to my work. If you ask why I can’t say, I just love it.”
We ask him if he reads newspapers, but he says:
“No, I don’t read them, and I’m not even interested. Do you know why? When I connect these tapes, I already read almost all the pages automatically. Believe it or not, one day the headline of the news attracted me so much that I quit my job for a while and read the whole news directly from the tape,” he says smiling.
While the next films come out of the printer, it goes into the main room. He pours himself tea, talks with colleagues in the shop. It’s almost 2 am, and the last tapes are still tocome.
Maybe another cigarette will help pass the time, so we go out with him into the courtyard of the printing house.
Aftandil speaks with sadness about the decline of the newspaper market, the decline in people’s interest in printed matter.
“You can see for yourself what hard work we have. But of course, if it’s not appreciated, we’re not very happy about it.”
We asked if the era of newspapers is at an end.
It’s quiet for a while. He looks at the lit end of his cigarette and replies: “The era of newspapers will never end.”
Newspaper printing house