Sue Hinske

Sue Hinske has worked at the Regional News since 1964. She said that she has enjoyed working for the paper. (Photo by Rob Ireland/Regional News)

Though reporters may sometimes seem like the most visible part of a newspaper, the Regional News wouldn’t exist without the dedicated work of the entire staff.

And this is particularly true for one employee who brings years of passionate experience to her job every day.

Sue Hinske has worked at the Regional News since 1964.

During this time, she has learned the ins and outs of the business, seen plenty of changes to the industry and become the office manager.

Hinske recently sat down with a Regional News reporter to reflect on her time at the paper.

(The following has been edited for clarity and brevity)

Q: How did you get involved in this job in the first place?

A: Well, it was 1964, and I was graduating high school. I knew I couldn’t go on to college, we didn’t have the money or the transportation needs being that there is no college in this area. So they (the Regional News) had checked with the high school to see if there were any good typists who weren’t going to continue on to college, and I was one of them, and I was hired. June 1, 1964, I started working here.

Q: What are some of the major changes you’ve seen happen to the Regional News since 1964?

A: Well the main changes have been going from hot, melted lead type and Linotype machines and we had all other kinds of equipment that did all sorts of jobs from printing Christmas cards to auction bills. So much of that, that’s all gone. We went from hot type to typesetting to computers, and all the different computers throughout the years and all the upgrades with the technology. It’s just unbelievable that everything is just done on the computers and then sent over the wire.

Q: Why did you decide to stay at the Regional News all these years?

A: I liked the job, I liked the deadlines. I love meeting deadlines. And I just didn’t really know where else I would go that I would enjoy it as much. And it was quite easy, if the job was done, to take time off for a half a day or a day or whatever. The people I worked for were very lenient once I had children about me being able to come and go, and make sure they were in day care or school or whatever the case may be.

Q: What was it like working as a woman in this office in the 1960s?

A: When I first started, and then for many years, just to make a headline, every letter was made out of melted lead. And we had to have strong men back here who could put those into the forms, be able to lift them. Once they had a full page of all melted lead it was 80 or 90 pounds per page that had to be lifted, and so you definitely had to have some muscle to be here.

But as time went on, that all changed here. And when I first started working here, I always wore high heels and nice dresses and had long, polished fingernails. They didn’t think I would last. Everybody in the office took bets as to how long I would last. Anywhere from a week to a month. I surprised them all, and none of them told me for several years that they had placed bets against me, but I stayed. And I really liked it.

Q: What have you learned during your time here?

A: I learned how to tolerate people probably a little bit better, dealing with the public. I think I certainly became much more outgoing than I was as a child. I was shy, and to this day still, contrary to what a lot of people would think. I really opened up a lot and became a lot more knowledgeable of things, and I think that made me a lot more secure in talking with people.

I learned all the facets of a newspaper. The only thing I never did was darkroom. I never developed a picture. But I knew how to do everything else from bookkeeping to typesetting, everything. Everything there was to do. I used to run the paper when the boss was gone, I managed the paper and everyone reported to me, even the editor. That went on for quite a few years.

Q: Do you have a favorite memory from your time here?

A: Michael (Reinsissel). Hiring Michael right out of high school and working with him for 30 years was truly enjoyable. I had a lot of friends come and go over the years, but he was one of the joys.

(Michael was the production manager and graphic artist for the Regional News. He passed away unexpectedly earlier this year.)

Jen Gragg graduated from Lawrence University with a degree in English and from the University of Wisconsin Madison with a degree in Journalism. She covers county government, crime, the village of Williams Bay and the town of Lyons.