Editor’s Column: About those deadlines

Sometimes I wonder if we’re doing enough; particularly when someone hangs up on me in a snit because we didn’t print an article and photos that came in two hours before  press time.

There’s a difference between deadline and press time.

Deadline is Monday at 5 p.m. (Tuesday at 3 for classifieds and legals).

Between deadline and Tuesday night, Caitlin, our editorial designer, finishes putting all the week’s ads together, lays out all the classifieds and legal notices, and designs the rest of the paper.

On Wednesday, armed with strong coffee, we sit down to fill in any gaps, make corrections and changes, and “put the paper to bed” no later than 2 p.m.

We will bend over backward to get in emergency announcements and last minute obituaries on Wednesday if they come in, but regular news and sports stories that come in that close to press time are probably going to have to wait till the next week.

According to the “typical” hierarchy of a small newspaper, we should have at least half a dozen full-time staff members, and that’s just in the news department. Each of those editors—news, features, sports, opinion, photo/graphics, copy, managing—would have reporters and photographers and columnists reporting to them. From there you move into the business department, the advertising department and the production/design department and distribution.

While I sometimes envy neighboring papers their interchangeable, 24-7 staff as members of corporate conglomerates, I don’t want to join them. That is, I don’t want to join them right up until someone gets offended because we don’t have a reporter at every newsworthy activity and we {gasp!} ask people to submit their own stories and stats and photos.

We—and every other small paper I know—are dependent on passionate coaches and interested parents and teachers and rec district staffers and sports enthusiasts and sometimes even students to provide photos and results and updates. And that’s not just for sports…we need information coming in for regular news, too.

Would I love to have a stable of full-time staff reporters covering every event and meeting that occurs countywide? Absolutely. I’d also like to have the advertising and subscription revenue to pay those reporters a living wage.

So, when we call or email requesting a write-up from an event, or the results from a tournament or a race, it’s because we think that information is newsworthy and we’re making an effort to get that information into the paper, particularly when there are kids involved. We depend on  (and are grateful for) the powers that be who share that information with us in a timely fashion.

To all of you who submit things to the paper for inclusion, thank you. You’re helping us tell the story of our communities.


Which brings me back to the topic of deadlines. Next week’s paper falls on a national holiday. That means our printer will be taking a well-deserved day off, so we have to publish and distribute the paper a day early. Everything—editorial, display ads, and classifieds—needs to be submitted by end of day Friday (tomorrow). That gives us the weekend to design and lay out next week’s paper and Range Call special section and get it to the printer on Tuesday. Please plan accordingly.

By Niki Turner | niki@ht1885.com

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