I am always awed by the pomp and circumstance surrounding presidential inaugurations, so I was glued to the television Wednesday morning. (By the way, I am ready to vote for the youth poet laureate, Amanda Gorman, for president in about 2040.)
While I watched TV I was also keeping an eye on social media to see what was going on in Olympia. Would there be any unrest to cover?
I follow Rachel La Corte, who covers Washington state government for The Associated Press, on Twitter. She reported it was quiet. She also retweeted a message from the AP’s Washington, D.C., Bureau chief, Julie Pace: @AP Flash WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden sworn in as 46th president of the United States, takes office amid pandemic, economic woes, deep divisions.
A flash? That is a very special word in wire service lingo, and one I hadn’t heard in many years. Wasn’t it obsolete? If not, I wondered what had happened to it.
First, a little history. For most of the 20th century, AP news was distributed from regional centers using leased telephone wires. Every member newsroom had a teletype printer, or multiple printers, that chugged away all day printing stories onto long rolls of paper. The clack-clacking made a lot of noise! A wire editor would check them periodically, cut the stories apart and sort them into piles. Toward deadline, the editor would sort through the piles and choose the stories to be set into type for the next edition.