To print - or not to print.
That is . . . (often) a tough question.But my boss pays me the big bucks to answer that question. And, I presume, if he doesn't like my answers he'll eventually stop paying me.
But it's not my boss I'm really worried about. I can handle him.
It's you, our readers, that I'm most concerned about. You see, if you don't like what I put in the paper, you might not read it. And if you don't read it, you might stop buying it. And if you stop buying it . . . well, you get the picture.
My gut feeling is that you want to know what's going on and how that affects you - in an interesting, compelling way. So that's what we try to do. But the questions that arise along they way aren't always that easy to answer.
Whenever I tell people that I'm the city editor at the Deseret News, they invariably say, "That sounds like exciting work. What exactly to you do?"
"Well," I reply, "I try to determine at 6 in the morning what's going to be news - interesting news, I hope - at 6 in the evening."
And, while that's not completely accurate, it does well illustrate some of our challenges.
The challenges, of course, come with the territory. In fact they're largely responsible for making the job so appealing. (Kind of like how tossing more bowling pins in the air makes a juggler's act more appealing.)
And just as a juggler sometimes drops a pin, we sometimes - advertently or inadvertently - miss a story.
But it isn't because we're not trying. It's because we're making our best estimates based on the information available. Sometimes you win; sometimes you don't.
My boss understands all that. But I'm not sure you, our readers, do. So, in a valiant attempt to make you more sympathetic to my plight, I offer this:
It's not simply a matter of saying, "Yes, we'll run this story," or "No, we won't run that story." It's a matter of answering these - and countless other - questions, usually while up against the next deadline:
-How much room for news stories is there in the paper?
-What stories are competing for that news space?
-What other things are happening?
-Does the story need an accompanying illustration, photo or chart?
-Does the story need to be paired with another story?
-Can the story be finished in time for one of a dozen daily deadlines?
-Will the page that's available when the story is completed accommodate the story?
-Are those who need to be interviewed for the story available right now?
-Is the reporter assigned a fast writer?
-Is the editor handling the story fast?
-Is the information in the story fair and complete.
-Is the . . . ?
And, as you would expect, none of these questions is answered in a vacuum. Each answer sets the dominoes falling in a different direction.
Underlying those minute-by-minute challenges is our daily effort to be better than the competition, and - most importantly - our commitment to provide you with a compelling, informative, interesting newspaper.
Sure, it is sometimes taxing. But I can't think of anything I'd rather do. And if you like what we're doing, then its well worth the effort.