At the Corinth Chronicle, the daily struggle to produce a newspaper has already begun. And as the austerity measures begin to bite, all is not well in the print department
"It's no joke trying to mass produce a quality daily when it takes at least four hours to colourise the bloody front page. The pressure is immense" admitted copyist Nikos Bouzas "and it isn't helped that the bloke next to me is adding the tints to the page 3 wench. What he does with his free hand is disgusting. You really don't want to know what he's mixing in with his pigments"
The dramatic change in production techniques has seen the papers circulation fall from 350,000 to several dozen, but over at the distribution warehouse, the logistics of shifting a publication that is now nearly 2 metres square and weighs in at 12 kilos is already starting to take its daily toll.
"We're four loaders down already - 2 striated hernias, 1 dislocated shoulder and the mother of all parchment cuts , and we're barely a quarter through the shift" admits the warehouseman " We're already dreading sunday. The supplements will treble the size - it'll wipe us out"
Television and radio coverage are also suffering as the technological reverse gains momentum.
"Despite having a surprisingly sophisticated understanding of optics and the mechanisms of sound propagation, we are centuries away from a broadcast solution" quoted Giorgos Fortounis, station manager for Athens MultiVisuals. "We have been forced to use roving teams of street mummers and mime artists for our programming" .
However, this is not without its difficulties given the current rebelliousness on Athenian streets. Giorgos confided that he had already lost two news teams whose reporting of the previous days rioting had been interpreted as incitement by the authorities. "They've all been pilloried. Literally"
However, it's not all doom and gloom. It appears that the stations late night Adult Entertainment programming is booming, especially after taking the radical step of permitting women to take the female roles.
"We just can't keep up with demand " declared Giorgos. "we are having to run rolling auditions for the roles of Attractive-Female-House-Serf and Burly-Millwheel-Maintenance-Artisan, the response is tremendous" He did admit that some of the players had been arrested for public lewdness, branded and their tongues cut out " but that's just an occupational hazard - like syphilis and the plague"
By comparison, the specialist publication sector has been brought to its knees. Over 75% of magazines have folded as they suddenly find themselves predating their subject matter by 800 years. "It's difficult enough predicting future developments at the best of times" commented the ex-editor of 'Practical Wireless' "but when the only improvement you can see is either a louder man shouting down a bigger tube, or a longer piece of string, your enthusiasm wanes"
For those remaining publications, these are also troubling times. The entire editorial staff at the monthly 'New Science' magazine have recently found themselves condemned for heresy after reporting the search for the Higgs-Boson 'God' particle.
Meanwhile, back at the Corinth Chronicle Nikos is musing on the other changes in his life.
"As a former employee of News International it was a real surprise to find myself subject to 12th century working practises and codes. The freedom, the openness, the feel-good factor. It's almost worth the lice infestation and rampant gingivitus"
[ inspired by headline in yesterdays 'i' ]