Chris Fidler retires from a long, busy career that included behind-the-scenes production duties for Johnson Publications, including The Holyoke Enterprise. — Johnson Publications
Fidler retires from decades in newspaper, printing profession
After living a busy career in the newspaper and printing business, Chris Fidler has retired.
For nearly 34 years, Fidler has worked as production superintendent for The Imperial (Nebraska) Republican, and for 12 years before that, he worked in several printing businesses, too.
In all, his newspaper and printing career spanned 47 years.
His final day at The Imperial Republican arrived Thursday, Dec. 28, a quiet day between the holidays as the final newspaper for 2017 was printed.
However, much of his career has been far from quiet, considering the loud hum of running presses at which he stood for thousands of hours.
Running the various presses on occasion was just part of his job at the Republican, where he also handled the ordering to keep inventory and materials on hand, designed ads and page layout, as well as consulting with customers on their individual commercial printing needs.
At times, he even sold advertising during vacations or to cover for sickness.
His position also involved coordination of printing schedules with the three other Johnson Publications newspapers — The Wauneta (Nebraska) Breeze, The Grant (Nebraska) Tribune Sentinel and The Holyoke Enterprise.
“I’m going to have to figure out how to get up in the mornings and not go to work,” Fidler said.
“I plan to do that two to three times a day,” he smiled.
While reflecting on his long career, which started his sophomore year at Perkins County High School in Grant, Nebraska, Fidler admitted the job has become a lot easier as technology has allowed the condensing of many of his former responsibilities.
“Most of it’s in front of us on the screen now,” he said.
One example, likely the biggest change he’s seen in the business, is elimination of the darkroom.
A process that once took a couple hours can now be accomplished in minutes.
He’s put in plenty of time in the darkroom over the years, where film had to be developed in chemicals, hung to dry, negatives laid out and shot on a proof sheet, photos had to be selected, a print made, then a halftone created for use on the newspaper pages.
With digital cameras and computers, that long process can now be accomplished in a fraction of the time.
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