Some of this from Jon Talton about his days at the Rocky Mountain News at the height of its wars with the Denver Post sounded familiar:
Every morning, I picked up the two papers on my doorstep in fear of what the Post had done to me. The Post's business editor did the same. There was no time for Gannett foolishness. People in Denver and Colorado -- and these were Western regional newspapers, not flimsies focused on suburban features -- demanded news.
During the early '70s I spent some time writing about the performing arts for the Minneapolis Star when it was the afternoon counterpart to the Tribune, and the papers shared a building, presses and publisher.
We typically returned to the paper to write after a play or music performance, so our reviews would appear in the next afternoon's edition. That meant we'd be at work when the early morning edition of the Tribune was printed, and someone walked through the newsroom dropping copies on our desks.
We'd turn to the B section to see if our rival critics managed to slip a story or review into the paper ahead of us, or if they'd taken a better tack on something we'd covered. We'd feel a fresh squirt of competitive juices — quite helpful in the middle of the night with a deadline looming — and reassure each other that our work was superior, probably more often than it was.
We smoked at our desks, drank vending machine coffee made with the extra-strong button punched, and wrote using manual typewriters to crank out our copy on rolls of newsprint we could mark up with a fat #2 pencil. If revisions got too extensive, we'd retype entire sections and use rubber cement to paste together a continuous strip we would submit — after counting out the lines to make sure we fit the assigned news hole.
The next day, we'd read our work to see what the night copy editor had done to us.
Things are different now in so many ways, but the big one is not the web. Talton says it here:
(h/t Mark Gisleson)