As I prepare to head out to tonight's aldermanic forum at the library, I want to peel back the curtain and give you good folks a glimpse at how the journalistic sausages are made. How’s that for a mixed metaphor?
Our deadline for the PEG-TV forum last Wednesday night was extended to 10 p.m. so that we could get something on the event into Thursday’s paper. That does not mean I had until 10 to write it. No, the story had to be ready to go to print by 10, and before that happened, two different people had to read it. They also had to read it slowly enough to have a reasonable chance at catching all the boneheaded mistakes I made rushing to write it.
So, I walked out of PEG-TV at around 9 p.m. knowing I had about 30 minutes to get back to the office and write the story, and praying that the train I was hearing wasn’t blocking off the front of Howe Center.
Because the entire paper was being held up for this story, the rest of page was designed with a convenient hole for the staff to plug my piece into once I finished it. This meant I had to write to a set size. The size in question, I was told beforehand, was 18 inches, about 500 words. With nine candidates, I would only be able to devote about 50 words to each of them. In the midst of writing, I was asked if I could bring in the story in the 330-420 word range. I complied, and you read the result last week.
You can see how I do with tonight's debate in, you know it, tomorrow's Rutland Herald.