Former Herald man recalls days at paper

05:02, Jun 10 2014
timaru herald dave hay 150th
DEVIL IS IN THE DETAIL: Sharp as a tack, Dave Hay is a former Timaru Herald staff member who still notices things others might miss.

"Back in my days, the coverage of Parliament was dry as dust and murder trials lasted a day and a half."

Dave Hay started work at the Timaru Herald more than 70 years ago and this was one of his recollections, as the newspaper celebrates its 150th birthday. Now 92, he was 20 when he started his job as an assistant sub-editor.

"My experience with the Herald goes back a long time. When I was there, it was still the days of telegraph transmission handled by the Post Office of Timaru and the staff had to go get them everyday and we had to fill in the short words like 'the' and 'and'. Then we got teleprinters."

Mr Hay went to Christchurch after his first stint but came back to the Herald in the position of chief sub-editor from 1953-56.

"In those days newspapers made an informal agreement of not raiding other newspapers for staff. There was a staff shortage at a time of expansion.

"Sometimes, though, you would have staff members being taken down to the pub for a beer or two by other papers to lure them away."


Computers were coming in around the time he retired. "I retired to avoid computers - it was not going to be easy for me to change and it was an opportunity for my wife to spend time with me."

Mr Hay still does not own a computer or a mobile phone and he is quite happy about that.

He believes newspapers today provide a rather different service in comparison with his time.

"They have more light humanity these days. Life was pretty serious back in my day. There is more court coverage [today] and the material we used to cover is hardly noted nowadays. But they should bring themselves up to date.

"Tell things as they are, not as they might be, and inform people actively and challenge them."

The Timaru Herald