Thursday, January 10, 2008

FAQ, Part 3 (The front page)

Third in a series of frequently asked questions about the Freeman:

Who decides what goes on the front page?

Most days, it's the managing editor.

The newsroom's day begins early, with the assistant managing editor in by 7, reviewing that day's paper and beginning to build a list of local stories for the next day. He's talking to reporters, editors and correspondents throughout the morning, making story and photo assignments, and taking calls from readers.

By noon the next day's preliminary story "budget" has been compiled. It's the roadmap for the managing editor and city editor, who meet in early afternoon to review the list and discuss what goes where. Ultimately, the managing editor decides which stories he'll use on Page 1 and hands the rest back to the city editor, who assigns the others to inside pages, and also determines how many and which pages will contain wire stories. (Pages for Life, Sports and Opinion already have been split off for other editors to prepare.)

Once the managing editor has departed at early evening, the ball is in the city editor's court. If a late breaking story emerges, or in an anticipated story doesn't pan out, he'll either make a change to Page 1 on his own, or phone the managing editor at home to consider the alteration. Right up to presstime for the first edition at midnight, a switch can occur.

The managing editor isn't normally in the office on the weekends, so the city editor (on Saturday) and the assistant city editor (on Sunday) make the decisions. But the managing editor is only a phone call away.
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