MANY (WAY MANY!) years ago, I was the news editor at The Journal Herald in Dayton, OH. Those were busy, heady times and I recall them fondly.
One of my commitments as the boss of the copy/production desk, was to make deadline. Always make deadline. I figured that if we could do that consistently, then other departments couldn’t point a finger at us when there was a problem hitting the press on time. Everyone on my desk knew I was a stickler for making deadline…and they felt as strongly as I did about getting in on time.
But…we’d occasionally get an ad that was late, meaning we’d have to tear up a page and redesign and re-edit. That was a pain, but one we endured because it was part of what we did as a desk.
One night, one of my staffers (there were 8 to 10 of us on the desk on any given evening) decided he’d had enough.
“Why is it,” he blurted out, “that we always have to make deadline and the ad department doesn’t?”
I fixed him with a stare, took a breath, and answered loudly enough for the entire newsroom to hear: “Because!” And that was all the response he was gonna get at that moment. Besides, he already knew the answer.
It’s this simple: the newsroom—including the desk—is an expense. Outgo.
Advertising is income.
So if an ad is late…we’re gonna take it late.
What’s the hint in all this?
Simple: Don’t waste your time complaining about something that’s a fact of life in every newsroom…in every town…everywhere.
Ads will occasionally be late. Deal with it.