May 1, 2003

What if?

by Chris Feeney

What if haste made great taste? Then all the five-star restaurants would have a drive-thru. Unfortunately we all know how the saying really goes, that haste makes waste. No this article has nothing to do with fast food (it's all I could come up with that rhymed - I guess I'm no poet.) Instead this little editorial has dual purpose. Not only will it allow me to explain a few things about last week's newspaper, but it will also finally allow me to get an editorial written after failing to fill this spot for three weeks running. So in other words it's one great big apology. Anyway back to haste makes waste.

Last week, due to the lawn and garden insert, we moved up our printing schedule. Instead of printing on Wednesday morning like normal, we printed Tuesday evening. You wouldn't think that would be a big deal. But when you get used to being able to stay and work all night on Tuesday to get the paper finalized, it makes it very difficult to have all 18-pages boxed up and ready to hit the road at 5:30 p.m. that night.

So that's where the haste comes in. Even after working until midnight on Monday night it still was a rush to get things done Tuesday afternoon. Unfortunately that led to a little waste. In my haste I set aside a make-up sheet with a number of articles. These items, such as our regular correspondence columns, State Line and Little of This & Some of That did not make it in this week's paper.

All of the omitted correspondence columns, along with a couple other articles that were on this make-up sheet that was missing in action, are published in this week's paper along with my apologies. Sad to say that I had to screw up in order to break my writer's block and get one of these editorials written.

* Disclaimer - none of the items left out last week came in after the deadline so please do not read the following as an attempt at an excuse. It was my fault and I take full blame.

But since I'm already in the doghouse I might as well get both feet in. While we are on the subject of staying late to work and the pressure of deadlines, I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone of our work schedule.

The Memphis Democrat is on the road by 7:00 a.m. each Wednesday morning heading to the press. That means the newspaper has to be finalized on Tuesday. In order for us to be able to meet this schedule we have established a deadline for all materials to be published in the newspaper at 5:00 p.m. on Monday. This is not a new deadline.

Of course deadlines, like rules, are made to be broken. Each week we accept ads, articles, pictures and just about anything else on Tuesday. This throws a monkey wrench in our schedule - hence the reason why our light bill is so high each month because we're here way too late on Tuesday night/ Wednesday morning. While I realize this problem won't cure itself overnight, I would ask folks to try to be considerate of this issue and make every attempt to submit their items in a timely fashion prior to the Monday 5:00 p.m. deadline. If nothing else I would ask these same people to be considerate of our staff when an item does not make it into the paper, or isn't exactly the way they had envisioned it. When the deadline pressure is on, quality can suffer.

I don't want people not to bring items in on Tuesday, or to feel guilty when it happens. Instead the staff simply would ask you to lend a hand when possible and try to adhere to our deadlines. We want your submissions and do not want to do anything that would cause people to stop submitting their news items. We just don't want haste to make waste. We want our work to be paced, so our submitters may be faced and so I don't get maced because I hear it has a bad taste. Hey maybe I am a poet and didn't even know it.

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