My 9-year-old daughter very sweetly asked me recently, “You mean people actually have to work on Christmas?”
So I explained about the people like firefighters and police officers, emergency personnel like her stepfather, who is a 911 dispatcher. I talked about people who work at gas stations and convenience stores. I talked about hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
“There’s a whole host of people in a lot of different professions who work every single day to help people or to serve people,” I explained.
“Even at the newspaper?” she asked.
Yes, even at the newspaper. And of course, that opened up the opportunity to tell my 9-year-old daughter what even most adults don’t know about the newspaper business.
We’re a 24-hour operation. Every single day of the year. Weekends. Holidays. Bad weather. There’s always someone working for the Times West Virginian.
On a typical weekday, our business offices are staffed by 8:30 a.m. with people ready to meet your classified, advertising, circulation or business need. By 9 a.m., the newsroom starts to trickle in, a reporter here, a reporter there depending on the assignments of the day. And there’s a reporter there until 11 p.m. almost every night. After 3 p.m., the sports reporters and the desk crew, the fine people who put together the paper each night, start to come in.
And though the front door closes at 5 p.m., the workday has just begun. While many are off taking photographs, covering events and writing feature stories, the press crew arrives at 7 p.m., and the workers of the distribution center start to arrive in shifts.
And maybe you go to bed at 11 p.m. — but we don’t put the paper “to bed” until midnight. The pressmen then are busy running the press and making sure the quality of the text and pictures is correct. And then the distribution center employees get busy inserting advertisements, bundling papers, taking them to the post office and racks across the county and beyond and getting those bundles ready for the newspaper carriers.
And by 6 a.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. on weekends, those carriers make it to each and every subscribers’ door.
And by the time they’re done with their mission, circulation employees start to come in to answer calls from readers and assist callers in any way they can. So you see, we’re rocking around the clock every day of the year.
Merry Christmas to you and yours. And if you happen to be one of those working this holiday, stay safe and thank you. We, too, appreciate the fact that you never take a day off.
My Press Pass is a twice monthly column written by Managing Editor Misty Poe to explain the news gathering process and editorial decisions made at the Times West Virginian. If there are any specific questions you’d like to see addressed, you may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.