How to produce a paper under stressful conditions
At 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday, The Daily Cougar news editor Julie Heffler leaned back in her chair, relaxed her shoulders and let out a sigh of relief. She just finished the news section that covered President Barack Obama’s re-election.
Heffler’s ability to close her section so quickly after the major news sources finalized their projections is owed entirely to one thing: preparation.
“I made three different pages and wrote three different stories based on what the outcome of the election would be. I went up to several students that day and I asked what they would theoretically say if Obama won and what they would say if Romney won,” Heffler said.
“I compiled two different stories with two different sets of quotes for page one and then editor in chief Joshua Mann said, ‘Wait, what if they don’t announce it tonight?’”
Heffler said her plans had to be modified throughout the day and the production of her section of the paper was quite a challenge, but the night proved worth it for her.
“It was like I had this huge adrenaline rush while I was finishing everything,” Heffler said. “I had this huge momentum.”
As TDC staff completed its daily responsibilities for the production of the newspaper — writing, editing and page design — CNN live coverage of the presidential elections played on the television screen, monitored by editors waiting until they heard an official call.
Heffler said the TV helped spur everyone on and keep up the camaraderie in the office during the stressful situation.
“We all get along but last night was more exciting than usual,” Heffler said. “It was really cool.”
Although TDC had called its printing company ahead of time to extend the deadline past the usual time of midnight, the team came together and completed Issue 42 at about 11:30 p.m. Everyone was exhausted, but they were done.
“This is what we have to do,” Heffler said. “We have to get this done. We have to get the paper out.”
— Amanda Hilow; managing editor