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41 years isn’t such a long time

Longtime Townsman press operator calls it a career
The press team at the Cranbrook Townsman

Stop the presses!

After 41 years with the Cranbrook Daily Townsman, Gord Askew is calling it a career.

Askew, who started working in the newspaper industry right out of high school, pulled his last issue of the Daily Townsman off the press on Friday before heading into retirement.

When wrapping up high school, Askew gave serious thought to becoming an auto mechanic because of his interest in machinery. However, a job opened up in the press room of the Daily Townsman, which piqued his curiosity, so he applied.

Next thing you know, 41 years flies by.

"I've always been a big newspaper guy," Askew said. "I always grab a newspaper to read in the morning or when I'm on vacation. It's an industry that's given me my livelihood."

Hired as an apprentice, Askew has been a part of five different press installs over the years, and while the press technology hasn't changed much, the pre-press preparation—composing the newspaper before the use of computers and software—has been seen a massive evolution.

But it isn't just the production technology that changed, it was the print capability and quality, as the Daily Townsman moved from black and white to full colour in 1976, with four units allowing for 16 pages of colour.

Doing press installs were one of the more self-admitted interesting aspects of Askew’s career. Each one posed an interesting challenge to assemble from various parts into a working press.

And he got quite adept at it after doing it five times between the old office on 7th Ave. and at the current office on Cranbrook St.

He never had a ‘Stop the Presses’ moment that are so often dramatized on TV or the movies, however, the biggest news story of his career was when a 727 airplane crashed out at the Canadian Rockies International Airport in 1978 that killed 42 people, including many locals.

Erica Morell, an account executive with the Townsman who has been with the business since 1978, said Askew will be missed.

“Gord was here when I started 38 years ago and he has been a mainstay of press operations ever since. He became a good friend of mine and I’m going to miss his cheerful personality and I wish him all the best in the next chapter of his life,” Morell said.

Outside of work, you can find Askew taking in local hockey games, whether it be the Kootenay Ice or the Kimberley Dynamiters, or spending time with his wife, Leigh, two daughters and three grandchildren.