Monday, May 12, 2008

Who makes front-page decisions - and when

Q. In the movie about Watergate, editors hashed out what news they were going to run on the front page. Do you do that and if so, when? And how many people are involved in those meetings?
-- Gary Dove, Rotary Club of Los Osos

A. We meet at least twice a day on weekdays and once on weekends, barring major breaking news when we meet more often. The local news editor, managing editor, presentation editor, online news producer and I initially huddle around 10:30 a.m. to discuss the day’s top stories, what we envision going online and what the next day’s front page might look like. We also get an update on our online traffic and which stories are attracting the most interest on our Web site,
We meet more formally at 2:15 p.m. with representatives from each news desk (business, sports, features and wires too), as well as our copy editors and page designers – about 10 to 12 people. Most of our decisions about the front page are made at this time. But we typically make the last call around 6 p.m. after we’ve had a chance to review the top state, nation and world stories that are just beginning to move on our wire services. After this, we review the front page as it is being designed to make sure the stories and photos are displayed where we think they should be.
If major breaking news occurs after this, some – or all – of this planning gets thrown out -- and we start over, on deadline.

-- Sandy Duerr

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