Friday, January 16, 2009

Raw Feed

This blog is generally designed to weigh in on the challenges and issues we face in The Herald newsroom to produce, on a daily basis, the equivalent of a paperback book.

With the well-documented reductions in resources that newspapers are dealing with in these tough economic times, the challenges and issues in all newsroom are becoming more difficult. We recognize that readers do not want to hear excuses; they want news and we are well aware of our responsibilities.

So I want to use this opportunity to publicly thank our copy desk for their front-line work, on deadline, every day of the year. Led by Christy Hoffknecht, the copy desk is the production end of the newsroom. They are not the "feet on the street" and they do not get bylines and they do not often get the credit they deserve. They compose pages, edit copy, plow through reams of wire stories, tend to our Web site and write headlines as the clock ticks down to press time. It's the worst sort of job: They are typically only noticed when something goes wrong.

More often lately, they must scramble to make the important late calls. Late Thursday night, for instance, details were sketchy about the numerous shootings in Salinas, but our copy desk continued to plug away on the phones until they were able to verify much of what readers got on Friday morning.

The subject of Thursday night's shootings should not pass without extending professional kudos to Dan Green at KSBW. His live six-minute interview with Salinas Mayor Dennis Donohue about the increasing incidents of violence in the city was great to see, a reminder that Green has not lost his journalistic chops and that he is capable of asking the right questions. It was tense, raw and challenging, and Green did not let Donohue off the hook. Viewing the interview, it reminded me of what our reporters go through with sources virtually every day — except that our interviews are not broadcast live.

1 comment:

  1. I, for one, want to compliment the Herald for the work it has done lately. After more than a decade of decline, the paper has really gotten back to its roots after Joe Livernois took the helm. Despite the format changes, the Herald feels like a real hometown paper again, instead of the watered down product of corporate bean counters that prevailed through two previous owners. Keep it up!