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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

From the Editor

Front page mayhem

I was all set for a somewhat peaceful Sunday at the office.

My editors and writers were coming off spring break. The only big news item we had planned was a front page spread on the UH men’s basketball team’s first NCAA appeance since 1992. We also were going to run some more stories on the basketball team in the sports section. But that was it as far as major stories were concerned.

Suddenly, a lot of big things happened at once. A Student Government Association presidential debate that had been cancelled was back on. Reports broke that UH men’s basketball coach Tom Penders would announce his resignation Monday. And, of course, Sunday’s main event: Congress passes a historic health care legislation.

So much for a peaceful Sunday.

Because of these events, especially the last two, I had to significantly alter the front page. We knocked the men’s basketball season recap off the front page and replaced it with a story about Penders’ impending resignation (a creditable source confirmed that it was going to happen), along with a huge photo of Penders. The basketball recap was placed in the sports section.

We also added a health care story to run on the left side of the front page.

The decision to change the front page was made in a split second. Given the importance of Penders’ resignation and passage of the health care bill, it was a no-brainer.

As editor in chief, I have final say over what runs on the front page. Generally, I’ll accept input from my editors about really big stories and decide the best way to feature them on the front page. If I don’t think a story is front-page material, I reserve the right to have it run inside.

The biggest stories should always be played on the front page. We regularly run big-time sports stories on the front page, with this week being a prime example (from Monday through Wednesday, we had basketball stories on the front page). We’ve run election stories on the front page. Occasionally, we’ll run well-written feature stories on the front page. An occasional column has hit the front page.

Of course, it helps if you have great photos (we call it “art”). That makes a good front-page spread even better.

But it takes a great teamwork to make it happen. You need writers who can churn out great articles, section editors who can make the story a masterpiece, copy editors who can clean up the story’s grammar, photographers who have a great eye, photo editors who can touch up the photos, production specialists who can draw up excellent front pages and editor-in-chiefs who can coordinate all the efforts.

Therefore, I won’t dare take all the credit.

Take Care and God Bless!!!

Ronnie Turner

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