YDR Insider

Part of the USA Today Network

Place holders on pages

The fast-moving story about Joe Paterno meant the crew working on producing news pages Wednesday night had to keep changing our plans. We initially had planned to run a story about the fate of Graham Spanier at the bottom of the page of A1 and use the top only for Joe Paterno.

But, when the news came out that both he and Joe Paterno had been fired — not just Paterno retiring — Spanier’s story became part of the main news, as well.
We also expected some reaction from students but the news about that reaction wasn’t immediate. That led us to putting a “place holder” story at the bottom of the front page. A place holder is a story — often a feature, non-hard-news story — that could be ripped out without having to be concerned about getting it in the paper elsewhere, if news did break about student reaction.

That news didn’t happen until after we went to press, so if you got a paper this morning without the student reaction at the bottom of the page, you got the first edition.

An article about the “bedlam” eventually did move across the wires, which allowed us to slow down the press to get the story in the paper for some additions.

That’s a little insight into some of the decisions that go into putting out a daily paper with a breaking news story.

Tom Barstow
Editor, night news and digital