It is a beautiful time of year, and I returned to The Nashville News office this Monday following a beautiful fall weekend.
Along with the slight chill to the air, the vibrant foliage and the smell of burning leaves, I enjoy this time of year for another reason too. From when school returns to session in August through about Halloween, we are quite busy here. There’s a lot going on for us to cover, and there is a lot that is being submitted to us for publication as well.
While having all of these things to find space for in the paper can be nerve-wracking, it’s a far better problem to have than the alternative.
There is no panic I can experience quite like having no idea what I am going to put in the paper, and during this time of year and a period in spring from mid-May through early June, that just is not an issue that I have to worry about.
Lets see, we have school getting back into session (OK, they return to class in August, but things really don’t hit their stride until September), school sports in full swing too, the Okawville Wheat Festival, the Nashville Fall Festival (and all the events happening around that like townwide rummage sales, the Angels for Autism run, the Friends of the Library Book Sale, and this year, the 50th anniversary of the Historical Society), and then homecoming, including the game, the parade, the dance, and all the various school spirit stuff related to that.
Am I forgetting anything?
I’m almost sure that I am, but then, that’s kind of the point.
As I said above though, having a lot going on is a good problem to have. Lots of local things happening, and lots of local events, faces and names for the paper.
It’s not all fun, parades and nice weather though. Sometimes, things get forgotten in all the hubbub. Even worse, some times, I don’t forget. There are times when I just don’t have the space for an item. I’ll hold it for a later edition of the paper.
It’s not just a space concern either, or not exactly. If I have run the last 20 class reunion photos that I’ve received in color on our Society page, I may hold one even if I have space for it, if it’s going to run on a black and white page– I’ve gotten calls before from someone who thought that I had something against their class after their photo ran in black and white when most others ran in color.
There are other things that come into consideration too. Some papers have two sections, eight pages each. Some have two 10 page sections, some two 12 page sections, and the paper that we had the quarternary property assessment in topped out at 40 total pages.
The amount of pages we have in an edition is determined by how much paid content, that is to say, ads, that we have to support those pages.
We might add pages for some type of very important big news, but this only happens once in a blue moon and unfortunately, if it’s the type of news that bumps our page count up, it’s probably bad news too. Important yes, but if it’s important news that’s good news, we tend to have more time to prepare. It’s the nature of the beast.
There’s another issue too: putting the paper together is like putting a puzzle together and some times, one piece might fit while another doesn’t. I’d like to say that when I receive things from members of the community, I just put them in on a first come, first served basis, but that doesn’t always work either.
If I have a two-column-wide slot and two photos, one with two people in it and one with six people in it, I’ll run the one with two people in that slot, regardless of which arrived to me first. It will look nice, where if I were to run the photo with six people in it in that slot, the people’s faces would end up so small as to be almost unreadable.
Despite all of these considerations though, The rest of the Nashville News staff and I really do endeavor to get people’s things in, and their work done as soon as humanly possible. We don’t want to make errors, not just because it makes us look careless, but because we want to do the best by you, our supportive community, as we can.
This is a point that bears repeating, because in the end, we can’t do this without you. I can cover a handful of things each week, and Brent can cover a handful of games, but we just can’t be everywhere.
Even in this relatively small town, there’s a lot happening that we are not at. That’s where you come in, sending us your submissions, news items, family milestone events and more. We appreciate it, and the other readers in this community do too.
If there’s any one thing that makes me want to get things into the paper in a timely fashion, that’s it: doing right by this community.
Obviously, some weeks that goes better than others.
There are events that can occur that our out of our control. There could be a big ad that comes in at the last minute and bumps content off the page, there could be a news item that comes in that has to be in THAT week or else not at all, when the item I wrote up for you can run in a wider range of time slots. I hate to admit this, but it could just be that I screwed up– it happens, I’m human, as are the rest of the people here, except for Brent– the jury is still out on him.
With all these things to consider, I will say right here that I will not guarantee that we’ll get an item in at a certain time, in a certain place. When someone asks about when something will be in, a lot of times my line will be, “this Wednesday, barring unforeseen circumstances…”
It might sound like a joke, but it’s the truth.
What I can guarantee though, is that for what it’s worth, you have me putting in the best effort I can: to get things in quickly, to give you a fair and truthful assessment of what I can and can’t do, and overall for myself and the rest of The Nashville News staff (even Brent) to do the very best that we can for this community, period.
Even if it’s the next week’s edition when we do.
–Alex Haglund, Managing Editor