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When satellite technology became part of building a daily newspaper

In October 1980, the Globe and Mail began using satellite technology to transmit its newspaper content to printing locations outside Toronto.

In 1980, the Globe and Mail began using satellite technology to aid its distribution efforts

Using satellite technology to get the paper printed

Digital Archives

40 years agoVideo
2:21
It's October 1980 and the Globe and Mail has begun using satellite technology to transmit its newspaper content to a printing facility in Quebec. 2:21

It was a game changer for the Globe and Mail, which was making news 40 years ago.

The newspaper was starting to use satellite technology to send news content to printing plants located far from its downtown Toronto newsroom.

Which is why the paper boasted on the front page of its Oct. 23, 1980 edition that its new national edition had been "printed via satellite."

The new setup meant the Globe and Mail was going to be able to serve readers in various parts of Canada in a more efficient and economic way.

'Mind-boggling' technology

"The technology is mind-boggling," the CBC's Susan Murray explained on CBC News, as viewers saw footage of the process the newspaper had used to send its first satellite-transmitted national edition to a Montreal printing plant. 

Murray said the Globe was having 30,000 copies of that national edition printed in Montreal by the La Presse newspaper.

Some of those copies would be sold in the Montreal market, while others would be shipped to Atlantic Canada — arriving in all of those markets hours earlier than had previously been possible.

Globe and Mail publisher A. Roy Megarry said he expected the paper would double its circulation in Eastern Canada within a year.

More to come

Murray said the Montreal-printed national edition of the Globe was "a scaled-down version of what hits Toronto streets," with news and ads aimed at Ontario readers removed for those picking up the paper farther east.

The same technology would soon see the Globe also sending national edition material to a plant in Calgary, so the paper could be similarly distributed in western Canada.

But it wouldn't end there: Murray said the Globe and Mail had Vancouver slotted for the next step of distributing its national edition via satellite.

"It looks as if Canada is on its way to having a truly national newspaper," she said.

Within a year, the Globe and Mail was indeed printing copies of its national edition in Vancouver.

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