Graphic: The Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement

William Stothers

Audio transcript: On first job working at a newspaper
Date: March 10, 1999
Interviewer: Susan O'Hara

Note: Transcripts have been lightly edited; therefore there may be slight discrepancies with audio clips.

The interesting thing was, you're a new boy on the job, as I was, what we were doing was taking dictation and of course a lot of these stringers would send stuff in that needed to be rewritten, but what did I know? I would just take dictation and turn it in. I was afraid to do anything. This was right at first. But the first night on the job I could not use a regular desk or a manual typewriter. So they had purchased, for my use, a small Smith-Corona electric typewriter. They put together two file cabinets that you could build a desk out of. You could take the two grey metal file cabinets and pull them apart, and they had this thing that fit in on top in between the two. There were two slots and this top would drop in. That was the perfect height for me; it was great.

So here I am on the headphones, and I'm typing away, and I was taking dictation from a guy who was one of the primo prima donna reporters for the paper and who was in British Columbia filing on deadline for the first edition of the newspaper. This was like seven-thirty or quarter to eight on my first night. I'm typing away and taking this stuff down and I'm terrified of making mistakes, and I'm going as fast as I can. I notice that the typewriter—because of the motor there were vibrations—was gradually moving, and the two file cabinets were moving apart. Finally [laughs] it fell apart. Here I am down here like this [demonstrates], bent over still trying to type with it, and this headphone thing was on and pulling—what a mess! People were running and trying to get it done, and this guy was trying to file a deadline story, and I was panicking. I thought, "I'm out of here, I'm finished. I'll never work again." But it was just one of those things, and they carried on. Boy, that was really a baptism of fire.

End of transcript

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