You may have noticed the letter in Wednesday’s paper taking the G-T to task for not playing the story about the plane crash into the Hudson on the front page.
In retrospect, I think the reader has a point — we probably should have played the story that first day on the front page. In our (somewhat lame) defense, I will say that during the 3 p.m. news meeting on that day, it wasn’t clear yet just how heroically the pilot and crew had performed in making sure that everybody got out of the plane alive. We also worried that by the time the G-T got to your front doorstop the next morning, the story might seem like old news.
In addition, we had a relatively strong crop of local stories for that day’s paper. The next day, as more details about the crash were available, we did run a story about the pilot on page one.
About the 3 p.m. news meeting: Every weekday afternoon, G-T editors gather to look at all the local stories we have ready, and also look at all the world, national and state stories we have available on our news wires. The main purpose of the meeting is to decide which four or five of those stories make it onto page one.
Since we’re a local paper, if we have four or five local stories that seem worthy of page one — and no world, national or state story that must go out front — I won’t think twice about using all local stories on page one. My reasoning is pretty simple: You have plenty of other sources for those other stories. But we’re your only source for local stories. Obviously, we try to provide a selection of world, national and state stories in each edition, but we try not to forget that our franchise is local news (and local advertising, as well, of course).
With all that said, I wanted to remind you that we welcome guests to sit in on those 3 p.m. news meetings. We ask that you give us just a little advance warning so we can make sure that we’re prepared for your presence, but generally people have enjoyed the experience. If you’re interested, send me an e-mail (you can reach me at email@example.com) and I’ll make the necessary arrangements.