Nov 29, 2009 (The Free Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
North Lenoir and South Lenoir played basketball Tuesday night and it wasn't in Wednesday's paper.
There's a reason for that.
Kinston played at Pittsboro Northwood Friday night and all you saw Saturday morning was a score.
There's a reason for that, also, and the reasons are the same -- things aren't the way they used to be.
Subscriptions are being cancelled, nasty phone calls and e-mails are being sent, and blame is being placed in areas that it doesn't need to be. It's no one's fault who is employed by The Free Press that Tuesday's SL-NL game didn't make the Wednesday paper, nor is it anyone's fault that anything more than a score from Friday's playoff game could be found Saturday morning. Every one of us here at The Free Press are working with the hand we've been dealt.
That hand is having to deal with deadlines that come across as absurd to most. Bottom line is, if a game ends after 8 p.m., it's not getting into the paper the next day. That wasn't my decision. That wasn't Managing Editor Bryan Hanks' decision nor was it Publisher Patrick Holmes' decision.
When The Free Press went to a compact edition on June 1, it also changed print locations. The paper is no longer printed here; instead, it's printed in Jacksonville, along with sister papers the New Bern Sun Journal and the Jacksonville Daily News. Since we're the farthest in distance from Jacksonville, we drew the earliest deadline -- the paper has to be back in Kinston at a decent time for the carriers to deliver.
When North Lenoir and South Lenoir play again in Deep Run on Dec. 11, you won't see it until the Sunday edition. This is why we're trying our best to pump up our preps Web site -- FreePressPreps.com -- because there, at or around midnight following the games, you can find out who won and by how much, rather than waiting for two days.
"But I don't have a computer or the Internet," you may have just said. Yes, we know that not everyone has a computer or the Internet, and not everyone subscribes to the paper. It's a Catch-22 so to speak -- in our current situation there's no way we can please everybody.
The change has also taken away some of our editorial space. Because of the crunch on the desk in Jacksonville to produce three newspapers in one night, the need to have multiple community pages that each entity shares was a must, which is the reason for the NBA page and the full page of agate.
Yes, it takes away from the amount of editorial space The Free Press may have, but just like a student working on a research paper, we have deadlines (although very early ones) and due dates, and the community pages help facilitate that.
The reason the K-Tribe didn't get "coverage" in the daily print product and the reason ECU's football games don't always make the paper the next day are the same as why North Lenoir's sweep of the Blue Devils Tuesday night couldn't be read until you began your day-long journey at the stove on Thanksgiving morning.
Is it an ideal situation? Absolutely not. Do we, as in everyone in this building, wish things were different? Absolutely.
But we're all playing with the hand we've been dealt, and rest assured, myself, as well as the other 30-plus employees of The Free Press, are working our tails off to provide you with the best product we can.
Hopefully that's good for something.
Ryan Herman's column appears in The Free Press on Sundays. Reach him at 252-559-1073 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To see more of The Free Press or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to
http://www.kinston.com/. Copyright (c) 2009, The Free Press, Kinston, N.C.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email
email@example.com, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax
to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave.,
Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.