Editor's Note: Rejiggering your local newspaper

By Richard Wiens, The Triplicate October 11, 2011 02:24 pm

Newsrooms are disorderly places even in the most orderly of times. There’s always a scramble to meet the next deadline, produce the next edition and make sure that at least the most essential stories are covered, no matter how busy everyone is.

Toss a king-size wrench into the operation, and things can get downright chaotic.

I’m proud of last week’s rollout of the new Del Norte Triplicate, but it wasn’t easy. The conversion from five issues per week to three bigger issues was a challenge to every department, especially advertising, circulation and the press plant in addition to the newsroom.

It was like going to work and finding yourself in a parallel universe: Everything was familiar, yet also changed.

As promised, every edition contained more local coverage, but we had to figure out where to put it all. Sports Editor Bill Choy was clamoring for a second page, and producing the content to justify it. Stories and columns on the revamped B section covers needed to continue on inside pages. National and international news got squeezed, as we knew they would.

So tell the truth: Did you wonder last week on Wednesday and Friday where your newspaper was? Our objective is to make the beefed-up Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday issues make you forget about those other days.

We rolled out a lot of new features last week, and there’s more to come in the weeks ahead.

So far, the community response has been gratifying. Some people have called with questions, but most seem satisfied with the answers.

Take the comics page. In order to give readers all six strips per week of a given comic, we have to run two a day. The decisions on which strips were retained, added, or discontinued were also affected by the need to entirely drop one of the providers to stop paying multiple delivery fees. The cost of doing business.

As always, feel free to drop us a line and tell us how we’re doing: tripnews@triplicate.

com or Del Norte Triplicate, P.O. Box 277, Crescent City, CA 95531.

Maybe I’ll be hearing from Jerry Brown in response to last Thursday’s editorial criticizing him for not visiting Crescent City after the March tsunami, then vetoing a bill unanimously approved by the Legislature to cover the harbor’s share of tsunami repairs.

My hope is he at least read it, since it was picked up by the Associated Press in its weekly statewide roundup of editorials.

One reader, Joe Lacey, e-mailed to suggest the headline on the veto story should have read, “BROWN TO HARBOR: DROP DEAD,” a reference to what Lacey called a “classic headline” from 1975.

The governor’s ill-advised action did make me think of the famous New York Daily News headline, “FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD.”

President Gerald Ford had announced he wouldn’t support a bailout for cash-strapped New York City, instead calling for legislation making it easier for the city to go into bankruptcy.

A year later, Ford narrowly lost New York — and the presidency — to Jimmy Carter. And that was despite the fact that a couple months after the “DROP DEAD” headline, Ford changed his mind and signed legislation to provide federal loans to the city, which were repaid with interest.

Perhaps there’s still hope that Brown will do right by the harbor and reconsider the veto.