How to solve a newspaper crisis

23 Aug

Today, we finished the second issue of the paper.

I knew we would, from the beginning. But there were some moments when I came very close to doubting it.

For example, we received an email from one of our editors informing us that her two pages worth of content would not be coming in. Two of our twelve pages. So that meant a bit of a dilemma.

Also, we only had photos for two articles, with one more expected.

So we had a grand total of 13 stories to fill 12 pages of newspaper, and photos for two of them. This is, for anyone not familiar with journalism, a problem.

So, how to solve a newspaper crisis, in no particular order:

1) Run three pictures of lettuce growing with an article about hydroponics. Page full.

2) Run one of your articles with a 1.5″ margin on either side. Call it a “feature.” That is how you will get away with leaving huge amounts of white space on this page.

3) Text one of your staff writers to write “something opinionated about anything” to fill the hole where there should be a Letter to the Editor. She’ll have it in by 2:30 a.m.

4) Fill a page with 250 words of content. To do this, you will make extensive use of subheads, movie poster images, and random strips of color for no apparent reason.

5) Ask your managing editor to write an album review. He will not want to, but when you explain that you lost two pages of content, he will be more than willing.

6) Get one of your writers to take pictures of the outsides of some buildings on her cell phone. Run these as main art on an inside page.

7) Call your photo editor, former photo editor, high school newspaper classmate and recent ex-boy-something (who you haven’t spoken to since he called to say it was over) in a frantic attempt to find someone who can explain to you how to lighten pictures in PhotoShop. After 3.5 hours, one of them will call you back. It will not be the boy-something, who is camping and out of cell phone range. You can text him to ignore your call.

8) Run a 1500-word email Q&A with the new Dean of Engineering. Normally this would be cut to 600 words, but you’re trying to fill space. Add a very large pull quote.

9) Create a map of places that everyone who has lived in the city for more than two weeks knows where to find. Luckily, this is the orientation weekend issue, so your readership has lived in the city for two days.

10) Get your sports editor to write some commentary on the recently released basketball schedule. The main art on that page can then be a chart of said schedule. Another page fixed.

11) Call the company whose photographer is supposed to provide you with lead art. Call them again at noon the next day. Then 2:00. Then 3:30. Then 4:30. Then 4:45. They will get you said photos at 5:00, with no caption information. The caption on the biggest photo on your front page will refer to the people in the picture as nameless “paper-makers.” The other photo, for the inside page, will be chosen because the person in it is wearing a name tag and you can zoom in and name him in the caption.

12) Stick in some house ads, where you don’t have any other way to fill the space. “Got something to say? Write a letter to the editor!” fits in great on the Opinion page. You can also include a grey box that says: “Don’t be an eco-bully, recycle your Bulletin!” That’s two more pages fixed.

Congratulations! You just produced an almost-acceptable second issue of a university newspaper! Way to go!

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4 Responses to “How to solve a newspaper crisis”

  1. Nicole August 24, 2012 at 12:26 am #

    Oh so familiar with the newspaper crises… I’m a little sad I was not one of your go-to people for Photoshop help!

    • laurenkcampbell August 24, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

      Sorry – I still think of you for copy, not photo stuff!

  2. Alison August 23, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    reading the paper, after reading this, made it so much more enjoyable 🙂

    • laurenkcampbell August 24, 2012 at 12:07 am #

      Hahaha I’m so glad. Sometimes I feel like we should be running a disclaimer – it’s not our fault that everything fell apart!

      Also I saw an old guy reading the paper today and it took a lot of self-control to not run over and explain all of this to him.

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