Through the last couple of years, the entire spectrum of reader responses to The Daily Evergreen has crossed my desk.
Sometimes it's happy feedback. The reader loves the way they, their organization or personal beliefs have come across our pages. Or, the reader loves how badly the opposition looks. Sometimes, the feedback is even a genuine shout-out for a job well done.
More often though, there's the negative feedback. A good portion of it is justified. We screwed up. We need to take responsibility. But along with the justified there's also a portion those who don’t understand how the newspaper works.
Don't think we are only interested in hearing the good things about us. We want all of it. We need the criticism, not only to improve the paper this semester, but to grow as students and journalists. But we also need to be more transparent in how we operate, address concerns and answer questions.
So keep it coming. Email us any issues or questions you have. We'll answer them here in the Behind the Press blog while also giving readers a peek behind the pages at the staff of students who spend hours each day writing, editing and designing the papers that are pumped out each weekday.
In this first blog post, I want to address this common concern:
"What is the deal with the editing of the sports section lately? I would like to see each article read at least ONCE by someone besides the writer before being published. Multiple grammar mistakes in the Lin article today was disappointing after the under par Seahawks article from earlier this week. Come on guys!"
Every publication from professional news sources to fan blogs have errors and mistakes, but they are never acceptable. As a team, we try our best to avoid and fix them before we go into print. So I can assure you, every article that runs in the newspaper is read more than once by someone other than the writer. To give a look into the process, here’s a rundown of a typical night in The Daily Evergreen’s newsroom.
- All articles and columns are due at 4 p.m. unless a later deadline is agreed on before. But usually, most stories will trickle in throughout the night. We really need to crack down on that.
- For most sections, writers come in to read out their articles and columns with section editors. During the process, the editor will make changes based on AP and in-house style, and ask the reporter clarifying questions about the piece.
5 to 8 p.m.
- We hold our nightly budget meeting, where the section editors tell me, Managing Editor Allison Rowe and Copy Chief Stephanie Schendel what stories they are running that night.
- Then Alli divvies up the pages to the copy editor and section editors. Left over pages are divided between me, Alli and Stephanie.
- Once articles and columns pass through section editors, the copy chief reads through them to spell check proper nouns and correct grammatical and AP style errors. This woman has zero tolerance for clichés and meaningless phrases like, “raise awareness,” and slashes them up accordingly.
- When Stephanie finishes with the stories, they go through Alli and me. We divide them between ourselves by section. Sometimes I will read news and opinion while she takes life and sports. Other times we switch.
- While the stories go through the three of us, the section and copy editors lay out their pages using previous versions of the stories as placeholders. They write the headlines, summary graphs and subheads to match the articles and columns. Those are then replaced with the updated ones once we finish.
7 p.m. and onward
- After all the stories are read and the pages are laid out for a section, the editor will print them out first for Alli, and then, after she makes her edits, they print out for me.
- The editors make the changes we mark on the pages and then send them to Alli.
- Finally, she gives them a last look over before sending them to the Tribune for printing.
- Copies of the paper are delivered early the next morning to the WSU campus and the community.
And that is how The Daily Evergreen is made each night.
If readers have any other questions or concerns, leave a comment here (if you can make it through the cats) and I’ll answer it.