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Editor's Notebook Staying On Task
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In baseball parlance, they call it throwing the curve. And we have had many of them thrown at us the last couple of weeks.

To say things have been rather interesting around the paper would be an understatement. The Oakdale Leader issue of May 7 was delayed when there was a printing problem - after it had 'left the building' in Oakdale - on Tuesday afternoon, May 6 and got hung up on the press in Manteca. The problem was discovered but it resulted in a lengthy delay in getting the paper run done and, consequently, the May 7 issue didn't get to the Post Office in time for Wednesday delivery to postal boxes and rural route and city addresses. It was also late morning-early afternoon when they arrived at the Oakdale office, so people that were looking for them on the newsstands around town early Wednesday were also stymied. The phones were 'ringing off the hook' with people wanting to know what happened and our front desk receptionist felt like she was a broken record, repeating the same information over and over. Wednesday night, we left a message on the answering machine letting people know what happened, but calls still came in on Thursday.

Fast forward to Monday, May 12 when for some reason - still under investigation - the phone system decided to abruptly stop working at mid morning and, shortly after that, the server went down as well. Many phone calls are made by all reporters in attendance on Mondays, for news stories, sports, calls to police and fire agencies, last minute checks on stories for fine tuning, etc. We did have two phones hooked up to a different line that worked ... there was quite a line to use them. And with the servers down, it meant that, even though we could all type on our computers, using them basically as word processors, we couldn't go to the next step, which is sending our stories via the 'server' to the production department elsewhere in the building for placement on the newspaper pages. Those pages are laid out on computer as well. Luckily, a couple of people in the office had flash drives and we also resorted to burning discs with stories so we tried to stay somewhat on schedule, getting out the required pages for the Monday press run of 'B' sections. Because, the further behind you get on Monday, the worse it makes Tuesday and then we'll spend another Wednesday telling people why the paper didn't get out on time.

And, as things often happen in the newspaper business, 'breaking news' takes precedence. Our production problems were not the initial intended subject of this Editor's Notebook.