Special issues and late-closing stories put an extra strain on our staff, but no matter how many hours our editors, writers, reporters and copyreaders work, copy processing manager Lynn Crimando and her department, 13 strong, will be putting SI to bed long after the rest of the staff is already gone.
It is the copy processing department that translates page layouts into language our computer system can understand and that fits the words on each page before transmitting the final product, via satellite, to seven printing plants around the country. "We are the first people to see a story, we are the last people to see a story, and we have a hand at every step in between," says Crimando. It can be a long, hard process. Two of her staffers worked round-the-clock last week to close our World Series issue.
The Crimando crew instructs SI's computers to produce the correct typeface, the size and style of print in every story as well as the page format designed by our art department. That last task involves steps as obvious as placing each column of type on a page and as subtle as regulating the spacing between letters. And each problem demands a creative approach and precise instructions. "Unlike people, a computer is totally rational," Crimando says. "If you tell it to print every single letter upside down, it will do it. You have to know how to ask the computer to do what you want."
Take this page, for example. Imagine telling a computer everything about its layout: where to place the copy; how to rotate the photographer's credit 90 degrees, place it along the left side of the photo and make its type just the right size; where to put the caption; and much more. Yet, says Crimando, "This is the easiest page imaginable." The contents spread (pages 2 and 3) is much more challenging, with its 16 different styles and sizes of type, not to mention the various indentations.
November 10, 1986
The copy processing people were especially busy last week, working not only on this issue, but also on our upcoming special college basketball preview issue, which greatly increased the department's work load. Crimando compares the stress to that of an air traffic controller hearing everybody claim, "My plane takes priority over your plane."
Happily, there's no one more suited to direct the flow of SI's copy than Crimando, a former choreographer. After receiving her BFA in dance and humanities from Marygrove College in Detroit, she was a dancer, teacher and choreographer for nine years in Detroit and New York, working on modern and jazz dance and performance art pieces. She became more interested in computers and began working in advertising type houses to supplement her income. Lately, Crimando hasn't had much time to devote to dance because her 16-month-old daughter, Lila, and her work at the magazine keep her busy. Not that Crimando's job has made her sacrifice her creative instincts. "We're constantly seeking ways to adapt the computer to SI's needs, and this in itself requires a lot of imagination," she says.