Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Perfect Storm

Boy, did we goof today.
The Almanac page – where we run Dear Abby, the daily calendar and the police blotter – accidentally ran in two places in today’s paper.
It ran on page 4A, where it should have been, and on page 2B, which should have been the daily box scores for Sports.
So how did it happen?
Bear with me …
The editor who designed the Almanac page on the computer, labeled the page as 2B, which is correct five days of the week.
Wednesday through Sunday, The Star is a four-section paper – News (A), Local News (B), Sports (C) and Features (D). The Almanac page is always 2B on those days.
But, on Mondays and Tuesdays, The Star is a two-section paper – News (A) and Sports (B). On those two days, the Almanac page is never 2B, but that’s how it got labeled for today’s paper.
Nearing midnight Monday night, as press workers prepared the pages to be run on the press, the page that was errantly labeled 2B was placed in the 2B position – in Sports.
A different press worker later put the same page in the 4A position, which is where it was supposed to be. And, since it was labeled 2B instead of 4A, he erased the page number. (If you look at today’s paper, you’ll notice that 4A doesn’t have a page number.) However, he didn’t know a different press worker had already put that same mislabeled page in the 2B position.
After the paper prints, the press workers routinely check to make sure the pages are numbered correctly. A quick pass through the paper will show they were.
It was the perfect storm.
There are a couple of places along the way where the mistake possibly could have been caught.
We’ll look today to see if there are things we can work into our routine to prevent such mistakes in the future.
We regret the mistake and any inconvenience it may have caused, but there’s a reason newspapers are called the “daily miracle.”