On our office bulletin board, somebody posted this description of journalism: "It's a tough job with insane pressure and pretty crappy pay. On the other hand, everybody hates you." That was pinned up years ago, but it's still there, ringing true into the new year.
Producing a newspaper on a weekly deadline is a special kind of pressure. Scary, to be sure, yet also motivating. To the procrastinators among us (guilty!) The Coast's Wednesday date with the printing press is the one thing that can't be pushed off. For our staff, an eclectic group of self-starters who question authority, the deadline is a reason to work as a team. And knowing there's an audience of thousands waiting to get the paper on Thursday is an effective rallying force to overcome obstacles. The show must go on, as they say in another creative industry, no matter what stands in the way. And there's always something.
Computer crash, cover story falling apart, news breaking. An outbreak of the cold claiming victims throughout the office, the arrival of a defamation lawsuit that demands urgent attention, a cyberattack making it hard to send the paper's digital pages to the press. Hurricane, snow day, salty fog.
Holidays are a problem, too, even though we can see them coming from months away. The bulk of our newspaper production happens Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, so a Natal Day Monday vacation or Remembrance Day falling on Tuesday means just two days to get the paper out instead of three. In Coast lingo, that's a short week.
Then there's the shortest week, which we are going through as I write this. With New Year's Eve Monday effectively a day off, and Tuesday, January 1 the statutory New Year's holiday, we are left with just Wednesday to get this issue of The Coast out—starting 2019 with a rare chance to act like a daily newspaper.
If you're reading these words, Team Coast came together to produce a paper under one of the tightest deadlines we've ever faced. It's a hell of a way to start the new year. On the other hand, next week could be worse.
— Kyle Shaw
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