Who doesn’t enjoy a three-day weekend? Well, maybe a newspaper city editor, who has to fill up a string of newspapers with a reduced staff and, often, reduced news events.
In advance of a typical two-day weekend, Friday is a hectic day, with a variety of stories being written and edited not only for the next day’s paper, but also for Sunday and Monday. Breaking news is still covered as it happens, but filling up the weekend’s editions also requires a lot of advance stories.
That task grows on a three-day weekend, when a good portion of four days’ worth of content has to be written, edited and scheduled by Friday. That means for the city editor (and sports editor, too) a lot of advance planning to ensure there’s enough copy to make it through to the other side.
Some might ask, why not just schedule more people to work the weekends, so you’re not so crunched?Two basic reasons we don’t do that, the principal one being that despite all the activities of the weekend, there’s not that much news. The newsmakers are off, councils, school board and legislators are not meeting and major announcements are either delivered before the weekend or after it, when more people will read or see them. There are only so many stories you can write about the weekend farmers’ market or the events at the Expo. The second reason: Like everyone, our staff hopes to spend time with their families and friends.
(I should note here that for Sports, Memorial Day is anything but lacking in news. In fact there’s too much, from soccer tournaments, to state baseball and softball playoffs and the state high school track meet, Boatnik — the list is longer than our ability to cover it all.)
Memorial Day weekend is also a bit easier than other long weekends to find news because of the various ceremonies and the interesting stories about veterans. And it seems there are always compelling photo opportunities, which our photographers do a wonderful job of capturing.
We head into every holiday with a bit of trepidation, but somehow we always seem to survive, none the worse for wear. Well, except perhaps for the city editor, who may need a few days to recover.