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Archive for January 13th, 2008

UPDATED: Reprinting yesterday’s news? That’s odd

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

I noticed a weird headline among the IndyStar‘s top read stories tonight: “Note to Sunday Newspaper Readers

It said:

Due to massive computer problems, several news stories planned for Sunday’s newspaper did not appear this morning. The problems, related to computer storage issues, required us to reprint some stories from Saturday’s newspaper, and leave out stories we had planned to publish.

We apologize for the problems which we believe are now fixed. Local news and sports stories we had planned for Sunday’s paper will be published in Monday’s Star.

I guess there’s always that risk, right? The problem with computers is that they crash sometimes. But the paper always comes out right? Right. At least the ads did in this case. I guess that says a lot. Not necessarily good things, either. They can’t get the news out, but the ads can be delivered to your front door step packaged in yesterday’s news. Oy vey.

It just strikes me as supremely odd that they would opt to reprint stories that already ran. How does that make any sense? If anything, just run wire. Or take some of the stories slated to run in the other papers in the chain (there are several in Indiana, including the one where I work). Or reverse publish some of your blogs. Or shift around some of that advertising and tighten the paper to make it seem less empty.

I remember how much we used to curse and cry and freak out when the system would eat our stories on deadline at the Stater, and before we replaced the printer, when we couldn’t get the proofs to print and had to rely on our eyes looking over the screen. And when the PDFs wouldn’t FTP to the printer and we were already past deadline? Oh those nights were a blast, too. For all the ease technology has allowed, it hasn’t been without its own problems.

I don’t pretend to be as smart or experienced as the folks at the Star. But I’m just baffled — as too, apparently, are the readers — as to why you’d re-run yesterday’s content?

To their credit, it does appear some of those stories are online today. But there’s the rub. Tomorrow’s paper will be full of yesterday’s news, again. The news that should have run but didn’t will run a day past its prime. Not as bad as a complete reprint, but an odd conundrum to be sure. I’ve never heard of anything like this, though certainly it can’t be unprecedented?

On the other hand, though this isn’t a correction, I think I may forward it on to Regret the Error because it’s just so odd.

UPDATE:

Editor & Publisher wrote about the glitch in a piece I just stumbled upon. I do feel bad for the Star. I mean, yikes, you can’t access your content? What do you do?

The glitch resulted in numerous pages worth of news and advertising planned for the Sunday paper being left out and replaced by other content, said Managing Editor Pam Fine. She said the problem occurred after the paper’s CCI Publishing System went down and content placed in it was not accessible.

“We wound up running a lot of wire we would ordinarily not run,” Fine told E&P, citing as an example a Page One wire story on the Blackwater security firm and a Web story about a local congressional caucus that ran inside. “We also had a place holder for an enterprise piece that will now run on Tuesday.”