Inside Scoop - Week 4: One month later


Inside Scoop is a weekly column about the operation of the Spartan Daily, San Jose State's student newspaper.

It's been a month and I'm tired. Three newspapers again this week: Tuesday ("the shut it down issue"), Wednesday ("the 9/11 issue") and Thursday ("the Frog Dorm issue").

Tuesday: out at 1:31a.m.

We had late breaking news that there was a potential security flaw in the self-checkout machines used at various campus dining stores. It took a while for us to figure out exactly what the exploit was, reproduce it and report it to the correct people.

But since I spent a decent amount of time doing that, I wasn't doing the normal stuff that I do (helping with headlines, cutlines, reviewing pages). Some people ended up waiting on me, at which point I realized how much of a SPOF I had become. For some things, it's important that I'm the person who makes the decision, but for a lot of the production night questions and what not, there's no need for people to be blocked on me, especially when I'm doing other (also important) stuff.

Wednesday: out at 12:59p.m.

Goal accomplished: we got out before 1a.m. (just barely). The main thing that held us back was lack of planning around the 9/11 story and art for the front page. I had some photos of the memorials from when aismallard and I went around to Ground Zero, one of which we were able to use.

The story was a bit messy/unorganized, but that was mostly because we (editors) didn't give good story direction, and we opened it up a bit too late to give good feedback so the author could change it. So we had to do that ourselves.

We also started doing opinion pages and content as ragged right to distinguish it from the rest of the paper. So far it's gotten a good critical reception from our advisors, but we still have some implementation issues, notably consistency.

Thursday: out at 12:45a.m.

All of the English pages were done by 12:25a.m., it just took the Spanish page a bit longer.

The front story about frogs in the dorms was really fun to read and edit, but I think we missed the better story angle. Instead of talking about the individual impacts, we should have first talked about the social and community aspects of "The Frog Dorm," which we left towards the end of the story. Our goal was to do this weekly, but I'm not really sure how if it's possible to top this one.

We didn't have good photos for the university scholar series, but I went to the event and watched one of my reporters on how they reported. That was probably one of the most valuable things to see, since I know exactly how to help him (and hopefully others) going forward.

Also, putting the meme of the week right below an editorial about lacking mental health resources and suicide was pretty dumb from a layout perspective. Oops.

The Spanish page turned out nicely, hopefully it happens on a regular basis. And finishes earlier.