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From the Newsroom: Lots to stuff into paper on Turkey Day

If the past is any indication, next week is going to be crazy around the newsroom, and I hope we are ready for it.

Thanksgiving is always a challenge to plan around. We have early deadlines, large papers, odd newsholes and a lot of staff members who, understandably, would like some time off to be with their families.

Let’s start with the deadlines. For the past few years, we have printed the Thursday morning paper early, because it takes extra time to assemble due to all of the supplements. And, due to all of the advertising inserts, it’s very popular on newsstands (what we call single-copy sales.) So we print more copies, which means it takes more time to assemble and deliver them, which affects the deadline.

This year is especially challenging, because we have new contracts with several other newspapers to handle their printing and inserting. So you’ll see our Thanksgiving paper will be heavy on feature news and light on what we call spot news.

Breaking news will still be posted to our website, of course. But your holiday newspaper will be full of feature stories. One thing I learned from my former boss, Lou Brancaccio, is that readers don’t want a lot of heavy political or government news on a Thanksgiving Day front page, or anything that is tragic. We will keep that in mind as we choose our Thursday lineup.

Since we won’t be looking for those types of stories, we will be turning to our reporters to find the good news. For many years now, we’ve asked all of our reporters to contribute holiday features, with a photo, for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. We set the deadline early so that the reporters and photographers can work them into their schedule. They don’t have to be about the holiday, but just have to be something that can run on the holiday or in next few days after the holiday.

This year, I think we will also rerun our very popular story on how Mill Plain and Fourth Plain got their names. We’ve told this story a few times over the years, but still frequently get the question via our “Clark Asks” feature, where readers send in their questions that they would like to see reported on.

If you’re staying home for Thanksgiving, I hope you will enjoy the paper. And please know that we are thankful for our readers and advertisers who support local journalism.

Watermarking photos

One thing we aren’t as thankful for is people who steal our content. We’ve had trouble with this over the years. In the digital age, it is much too easy to just copy and paste, even though we assert our copyright to our journalism, which costs a lot of time and money to produce.

Sometimes the theft is deliberate, from people who try to make money on it. In cases like that, Web Editor Amy Libby first sends the thieves a polite cease-and-desist letter. If it continues, we report them to their social media platform or web host and try to get the content taken down that way.

Sometimes the theft is less nefarious. We find this a lot with sports photos. One of our professional photojournalists, carrying at least $10,000 worth of equipment, captures a great image of a local athlete, which we promote on Twitter. Fans of the team or the athlete copy the outstanding photo and reuse it without permission. We don’t want people to do this, but we understand the temptation. It happens so often that we can’t catch every violation.

So we’ve started watermarking these Twitter photos with our logo. That way, if they are appropriated without our permission, at least people will be able to see who did the original work and owns the rights to it.

We will continue to sell the original image at a reasonable cost. We would much rather fans buy the photo or link back to our site than steal our property. Those sales, and potentially subscriptions, help us recover our costs of making the photographs. And those photos are better, because they don’t have the watermark.


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