Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites


This can be a very confusing time

Early deadlines befuddle an old reporter


Sometimes it can seem confusing in the newspaper business. That’s particularly true around the holidays when press deadlines change and an old sports guy gets off his rhythm. Basketball games aren’t necessarily just Tuesdays and Fridays, there are holiday tournaments, and weather can force game cancellations.

Since Christmas is on a Tuesday, the powers that be in our company, decided we should put out this edition on the Saturday before Christmas. Normally, we have until noon (or thereabouts) on Tuesday to get the paper to the printer. That means we usually have Monday to catch up on Friday games, and locate coaches that we haven’t touched base with yet.by: SELF-PORTRAIT - Sportds Editor John Brewington

So, as I write this it’s Friday afternoon. The week’s games and meets are pretty much done, but I do have another basketball game I'll have to write about tomorrow morning. I was going to try and include Friday's games for the Scappoose boys and girls at Taft, but school was cancelled there (weather related I think) and there can't be games when school is cancelled. I'm not really sure why that is. They have holiday basketball tournaments when school is out. There are games on Saturdays all the time. So those games against Taft—three boys games, three girls games—will be made up at a later date.

Those reading this will realize we did get the paper out, probably on time, and then actually got three days in a row off. I can't remember when that’s happened before. I usually work on Monday holidays just to get the sports news out on time on the following Tuesday. Having Christmas Eve off is actually appreciated.

Thus is the newspaper business. When I started writing in this area nearly 40 years ago, we used mechanical typewriters. It was a big deal when we got electric typewriters. I don't think we even have one of those dinosaurs in the office anymore. My first boss was Gib Crouse. He had been a typesetter in the days when they used hot lead to set type. Yes, you could and often did get burned on one of those. The switch to computers and full-page pagination didn't really begin until the late 1990s-early 2000s.

I can't say I mind either. It's possible to do things much more quickly. I really don't miss the hours I spent in a darkroom, processing film and printing pictures. Digital photography is so much easier and the cameras so much better. I “burned” off 150 pictures in a short period yesterday afternoon at a swim meet. Now it just takes more time to go through them and select the best and most relevant photos. Using Photoshop is also pretty easy.

The other thing I like is that now we get to use much more color. It's more expensive, but golly gee it's swell to have it. It used to take a concerted effort to get a full color picture in a newspaper. First the film had to be processed by a commercial lab, and once the photo was ready separations had to be made. It cost $500-$600 locally to put in a color photo. It's still not cheap, but it's a lot less expensive than it was. The whole process is now easier.

But I digress. Next week, will be about the same around here, but the biggest problem for me is that most of the week's action doesn't start until Thursday and some of it is always far off—like in Sisters.

We'll catch what we can, even though some tournaments will still be going on as the paper heads off to press.

This is also the week I go through the back issues and try to select the top five or so local sports stories of the year. Hey, I'm always open to suggestions. No matter what I do, I usually get someone asking afterwards why I didn't pick one team, or another individual.

It's always subjective, so send me an e-mail and make your case. By the way, e-mails make gathering the news a little easier than it used to be. The phone is still used heavily, but we used to have to run all over to get copies of results. More and more, PDFs via e-mails take care of that chore. But the information still has to be formatted.

There are some things I really don't miss. As Billy Joel said in a song “the good ole days weren't always so good and tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems.”

Still, it's nice to reminisce. So, I say Merry Christmas, knowing it won't really be read until the day after. I should have figured that out last week.