Thursday, July 23, 2009

Me 'n' Jay and Those Duplicate Papers

A guy named Jay (no last name) left a couple of messages on Tuesday's post about The Roanoke Times printing a portion of Monday's sports section twice. He seemed pretty annoyed by the post and said he'd rather read The Times twice in a row than our Valley Business FRONT once. I wished him well with his newspaper.

Then came this:

"Just came here looking for your updated news for today. Unfortunately I did not find any. Looks like it is not so easy to put out a full newspaper every single day."

I replied thusly:

"Jay: Did you check News there. [Today] I wrote a cover story for the FRONT, edited seven stories, had two photo assignments and a press conference, ate lunch with one of our writers who is working on a story and needed some guidance, had a phone meeting with my partner on the November cover story, recruited two more teachers for our Roanoke Regional Writers Conference, talked to yet another writer about teaching a class for the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge's writers workshop, exercised for an hour and went to a baseball game in Salem with two good friends. I also cooked dinner for my wife. I hope your day was full, too.

"Dang, nearly forgot. I'm also working on a book (shaping up as a novel) and a long-ish magazine piece for another publication. Time-consuming, they are." I didn't even mention all the correspondence I answered.

The primary point in this is that The Roanoke Times has 400-500 people to put out a newspaper and our organization is a good bit smaller than that (6 full time, one in editorial). We do not have the goal to put out a newspaper daily. I do two blogs a day (this one and for the magazine) and most days each has at least one full-length post on it. Morefront had a substantial story on Carilion yesterday (that Jay might find interesting). I'm heading out to a press conference this a.m. and the result of that will be posted quickly.

The second point is that I have been a journalist for more than four decades, 17 of those in daily newspapers and, yes, I know what goes into putting out a paper. I'm not quite sure what goes into producing the same section twice in a row, however, and The Times' explanation that it was a "printing error" doesn't quite tell me.


  1. Now my Tuesday's RT sports section had a different front page from Monday's, but the inside was the same as Monday's. Did some subscribers get different printing errors deliberately, or was that another error.

  2. That's a question for Carole Tarrant, the executive editor, who doesn't seem to want to talk about this. I asked for a comment and got none--after she raised hell because I didn't ask her about the Doug Doughty Internet teaser (designed to promote speculation, I would have thought).

  3. I like how you seek the refuge of calling yourself "a journalist for more than four decades, 17 of those in daily newspapers," yet say things like, "...that was my guess. That's called speculation and it's a blog. It's sport."

    Yes, because we all know the best, most trusted journalists only base their information on speculation, and nothing more.

    Pick one, Dan. You can either be a gossip blogger or a respected journalist. Not both.

  4. Jay, for heaven's sake, get with the program: this is a personal blog, not journalism. We have for straight stuff. I have pointed that out to you several times, but you choose to look at this blog as hard core journalism. It is not. It is like letters to friends. There is a big, big difference in intent, tone and delivery. I have, indeed, been a journalist for a long time, but I am not functioning as one when I write this blog. Get it now?