The Power Of The Press

Get those presses rolling.  Or not.

        The Power of the Press. Everyone agrees with the truth of those five words, and to prove the point, the absence of the Salt Lake Tribune, last Saturday, shook up people throughout the entire State of Utah.

A ‘Production Problem’ was the cause of the delay, and it was re-scheduled for afternoon delivery, but it finally came in a huge packet along with the Sunday Paper. It was only one day late, but the effects of a daily Paper being undelivered for just one day are many, for timing is vital in the news and advertising fields and when that ‘time’ is lost, the effects are not easily erased.

To the average person, (me), it’s the shock of not having that ubiquitous Paper alongside my breakfast plate. Like half of a twin being missing; bread and butter, salt and pepper, breakfast and the paper. The food doesn’t taste right without it. And I still ‘see’ my father with his paper and Mama handing him the eggs, meat, toast and (forgive me, Dad) also his morning coffee.

The Paper can be but an hour late, before I’m asking, “Where’s my Paper?” And if you’ve ever worked at a Newspaper, their answer, “Production Problem” makes you shiver with empathy. Can be a small item, fixed in a moment or few hours, but it also might mean something big. Where the Press (and they are BIG) must be taken apart. The ‘broken’ piece not stocked locally, so employees sit idly about while someone in some far off City is gathering people to get that piece on a Plane and to Salt Lake fast.

Many press parts are heavy and a crane is needed, and, anyway by this time the management is already scrambling to find some other newspaper who will double-schedule their staff and print your paper in their spare time, and then ship it to you. The Ogden Daily Examiner came to the Trib’s rescue . and with thanks to them, the two Papers arrived together and that part of the crisis was over.

But the effects are long. First there’s the ‘paper boy’ who long ago ceased being the neighborhood boy or girl, but now are often adults and Delivering Papers might be their only, or more often their second or third jobs, and if their bundles of newspapers don’t arrive on time, then their schedule is fouled up. Their phone starts ‘ringing off the wall’, and if they have another job, say at nine a.m., it’s to helly with that, too.

And how about the advertisers who have a One Day Sale? Or, those who place want ads to sell their unwanted stuff, and planned the weekend to do so? Well, there go those plans, and the store with items sitting at ‘give away’ price? They keep sitting, too.

And, then what about the managers of those stores who paid good shekels for those ads, which did not reach any home? The ads were of no benefit to them.

Any extra help hired for the week end?   Well, they can be sent home, but wages must still be paid. But perhaps the biggest loser of all, is the newspaper itself. Advertising is what keeps a Paper going, so figure it out for yourself. There are no winners, but there are many losers.

Production Problems. I know just enough about newspapering to get the      shivers when I heard those two words. Many a production problem has side effects known to no one outside the Press room itself, or the same two words can have long tentacles that reach far away and keep reaching for a long time.

Yeah, we both want and need newspapers. We can get the ‘headlines’ of stories by TV or radio, but to get to the real ‘meat’ of the stories, we need the printed words. Daily newspapers are the answer and for most of Utah, it’s the Tribune.

The poor ‘paper boy’ gets yelled at for the poor delivery, the reporters who work hard to find and write the stories are disappointed, but that’s only the tip of the ice berg because, for the owner’s and publishers of that paper? It’s their very life blood.

This Production Problem was a computer problem. However, it took phone calls to someone in Germany who knew the in’s and out’s of the problem and then good Brains on both sides of the Atlantic to explain how to remedy it. It worked.

Let’s all be grateful that the Trib got the presses rolling, and cross our fingers that they keep them rolling. There are thousands like me whose days can’t get off to the ‘right’ start without The Salt Lake Tribune at our table, right along with our ham, eggs, and (?) coffee..

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