From concept to doorstep, paper requires lots of work - Tamara Boatwright

We all walked around here Tuesday like beat yard dogs. Our tails were firmly tucked between our legs, our heads hung low and our backs were hunched.

We had screwed up.

Human error resulted in about 1,200 editions of the Tuesday News Daily being printed and distributed with Monday's front page and the second front.

We feel awful about this and we ask you, our valuable readers, to accept our most humble apologies. The correct pages are reprinted in today's edition.

Again, we apologize. We freely and openly admit we screwed up and we won't offer excuses which are a dime a dozen. But we thought, by way of addressing this issue, we would use this space to explain how the paper is done n from start to finish n every day. It's a remarkably intense process that while the same nearly every day is also, in its own way, new each day.

It all starts in the newsroom. Here, Assistant Managing Editor Bob Paslay works with the reporters and photographers in determining the stories and photos that will be addressed in each edition. We plan more than a week in advance for some things while other things happen on "deadline."

The reporters have their own articles to produce, as well as some other things we refer to as "housekeeping items." These are notices that are submitted, need retyping and editing before they are presented in the paper. As a result, most days are very busy and very long.

Once the stories are done they are edited, re-edited and edited again and moved over for the designers to put on the page. Once everything is put on the page, the advertisements are accounted for and the items are checked, again, we send the pages to a machine that turns them into film negatives. From there they are checked again and burned onto a plate at which point they go from being a negative to a "positive" or print of the actual newspaper page on a large sheet of flexible metal. Loaded onto big wheels on the printing press, the plates turn, are inked and imprinted onto the newsprint n the long, blank sheet of paper that winds from 1/2-ton rolls ? through the press. The press part seems simplistic but pressmen are highly trained guys who must determine how much ink flows onto a printing page while making sure the other parts of the press are running correctly at the same time. All this has to happen while making sure you are paying attention so arms, legs and heads don't get sucked into the machinery.

The end result is the printed, cut and folded product that is counted and bundled shortly after midnight.

At about the same time, the newspaper carriers show up to claim their pre-determined bundles of papers. These people, who often work a regular day job, start getting the paper out abut 1 a.m. They have the unenviable task of driving along often dark and unmarked roads in all types of weather yet remarkably they manage to get the papers to our subscribers, our racks, boxes and schools. And one thing you might not know. They actually buy the papers they deliver so it costs them if they aren't delivered correctly. The same goes for the carriers who place the newspapers that are sold in stores, in boxes and other outlets. Ever pay for one newspaper and grab two? You took a chunk of someone's paycheck.

So we've gotten the articles assigned, written and edited, put on the page and the pages (the correct ones) printed, counted, bundled, to our carriers and on the way to our readers.

There is still more that goes on our 170-year-old building.

There is the sales staff who are courting current and prospective advertisers, ads that are being developed by graphic artists, the resulting paperwork that has to be filled out, turned in and filed and the business side of the newspaper business that has to be conducted. Faxes come in to different departments, the phone is ringing, questions are being asked, computers, phones, toilets are breaking down and being serviced and nerves are fraying. We even have the occasional squirrel that decides to nest in the attic but falls through and ends up being chased through the building accompanied by the shrill screams of the women (and some men) in the building.

But none of this is more important to us than getting informative and entertaining articles and items in the newspaper, getting them correct and getting them to you as quickly as possible.

We all feel badly when something happens. We know you deserve the best product possible and we rededicate ourselves daily to make sure this happens.

We hope you are more informed about our process and we welcome you to call us anytime with comments and suggestions.

And thanks for taking time out of your busy day to read us. We really do appreciate that.

Tamara Boatwright is managing editor of the News Daily and Daily Herald and can be reached at tboatwright@news-daily.com or at (770) 478-5753 Ext. 272.