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Page proofs

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by HejiraHenry, Jul 4, 2013.

  1. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Question for you sports editors: Am I alone in getting page proof PDFs sent to me on the nights when I'm not at work? I started doing that a couple of years ago and I find that it's helpful for me to take a look at the work before it goes out the door. The desk guys don't seem to mind, as we do make some improvements from time to time on the basis of checking those out.

    The downside, I guess, is that I'm tethered to looking at them, but it beats the hell out of getting some unpleasant surprise when I pick up the paper off the stoop the next morning.
  2. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    When I was working news at one place, we were required to send PDFs of pages via an instant messenger service to either the editor or assistant editor (depending on the night) of A1, A2 and A3 (local) pages before sending them off to be printed. I didn't like it because (1) it really slowed things down, meaning I had to be finished at least 30 minutes earlier than otherwise in order for them to check them and sign off. Not a HUGE issue most nights on newsside, but in sports it would have been a disaster.

    (2) One editor tended to nit-pick about stuff and I ended up having to do extra stuff on almost every page after I felt it was ready to go. Again, not a huge matter on newsside because I had the time, but in sports --- where I normally was pushing deadline anyway --- it would have been a disaster.

    (3) If you are going to hire someone to be a slot editor, have enough confidence in them to get the thing out on time and relatively error-free. Sure, stuff comes up from time to time, but have some confidence in your people. Or, if you really feel that only you and one other person are qualified to sign off on a page, then arrange your schedule to stay in the office to do so. Otherwise, delegate.

    In short, I didn't like the arrangement much.
  3. JamesCimburek

    JamesCimburek New Member

    I have typically trusted my ASE — or my copy desk person on the rare weeks I'm wearing my AME hat — to do the job that he or she has been trained to do. If I am breaking in someone new, I would stay close enough to the office to take a look at things.

    In order to "enjoy" an evening off, you have to be able to trust your copy desk person — and your writers — to do their jobs.
  4. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    On nights I'm off (like tonight), I can go online and look at pages as they're being paginated. If I had to, I can pull the page up and make fixes.
  5. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I think there's a big difference between trusting whoever's on but still wanting to see what's going on and using this sort of practice as an excuse for nitpicking.
  6. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    As James said, if you can't trust your people, you're going to be working 365 nights a year, whether at home or the office.

    My best boss was a guy who trusted me to get the job done that he hired me to do. If there was a major story or issue, I knew I could always pick up the phone and call him and we'd figure out a solution together. But that's the exception rather than the rule. Most days (when I wasn't flying solo), we'd talk about story play and such before he left at 5 or 6 pm and most of the stuff would go pretty smoothly from then. He had enough confidence in me that if news broke late in the shift that justified changing the gameplan, that I could do smoothly and still make deadline.

    We'd normally have two staffers in the office, so we'd cross proof pages. On nights I was flying solo, one of our newsside people would proof them for me.
  7. Riptide

    Riptide Well-Known Member

    Empowerment builds confidence. Micromanagement shreds it.
  8. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    All good points. Most nights, I don't say much except "That looks good. Let it roll."

    That said, it's my name at the top (or bottom, depending on redesign) of the section. When somebody asks me, as the sports editor, "Did you see that before it went into print?" I want to say "Yes."
  9. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    Just curious, how long have you been doing it this way, Henry? Even if it's just checking in and signing off on a page/section, I'd think having to be involved every single night would wear on you quickly.
  10. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I don't think HejiraHenry is saying he's proofing every page. He can correct me if I'm wrong, but this sort of practice normally is more about headlines and story placement. Many people, myself included, work more than that on supposed days off.
  11. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    It's the quick once-over on 3 or 4 finished pages, that's all.

    Once in a while, I'm going to suggest a headline change or one last check for an AP writethru.

    I have a lot of confidence in the people who work with me - that's why I go home in the first place.
  12. Riptide

    Riptide Well-Known Member

    You don't have confidence that your desk would make one last check for the AP writethru?
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