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Our paper is located on Reality Street

Little Notes



This week contained NSNT’s first deadline day flying solo, as Tim Giago officially retired on Friday, and lit out with Jackie for the desert southwest. That meant Editorial, Sales and Production would have to all work together to churn out a quality paper, with no Tim and Jackie to ride herd.

It would prove a hectic Monday. Laura and Jimmy had to find news to fill the newspaper and work together to lay out the pages and get the thing to bed by 2 p.m. on Tuesday. Everything that could go wrong, of course, wanted to go wrong, but plugging away, with help from Charise and James, and Kirk, Holly, and Christy, but mostly Ernie, they got the job done.

Ernie came in wearing sunglasses, working her new correspondence gig, but when some stories fell through, and new ones cropped up unexpectedly, Ernie stepped up, sat down, and clacked out the copy needed to deal with the problem. She did a great job writing about Jump Big Crow, who journeyed to the spirit world over the weekend, and will be greatly missed.

Churning out a paper when everything is going right is a tough job, but when things go wrong, it would be an impossible job, except for one thing. Every staff member has a 1001 ways to contribute, little things they picked up over years of plugging away, little things most people would not consider overly pertinent to putting out a paper.

All those little contributions add up.

One thing Jimmy has learned past couple of weeks is sales is a tough job. A newspaper must have news, sure, but it stays in business selling ads. These ads are measured in column inches, and the sales people use a dry eraser board to set a goal for every issue, and then they write down what we did in sales last year for this issue, and the hope is we will top that total.

Publishers would love it if advertisers just lined up outside the front door, pushing and elbowing their way to the front of the line, demanding to take out full page ads. We’d all be on Easy Street, but all newspapers are published on Reality Street.

Reality Street means nothing can happen good, long term, at any paper, if every department doesn’t understand they need to work with every department. Tim held his final staff meeting on Friday, and pointed out that any business is what you make of it.

We win General Excellence, as the best weekly newspaper in South Dakota, but we can’t do that if editorial doesn’t create great copy, practice great journalism. We can’t do it if production doesn’t lay out a great paper, or design ads for sales. Sales can’t sell the idea of our paper to advertisers if editorial doesn’t produce quality product and if production doesn’t present it in a compelling way.

No one could read our paper if the circulation staff didn’t get that paper out to the far flung reaches of our coverage area, or if they didn’t work with Charise maintaining the website and FB page.

And if Christy wasn’t at her desk holding all those parts together, there can be no team work.

This week we proved we were team players.

It is interesting to see who takes over Tim’s choice parking spot every morning. Jimmy took it on Monday, but on Tuesday he left it open just to see who would be the next one to fill it up.

But that’s a topic for next week’s Little Notes.

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