Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Washington Post content deadlines

I asked the Washington Post's Ombudsman about the deadlines for its daily content and thought the response was interesting:

"Basically, there are three deadlines most nights. The first "close" can be as early as 9:30, the second one at 11 p.m. and the third at 12:15 a.m. But those can vary slightly depending on the day of the week and special circumstances (like printing a "zoned" edition with targeted ads, or holding the presses for a late Redskins game, etc.).

These are deadlines for content. Then you have to build in time for the information to formatted into a plate for the press.

And, there are times when major breaking news after midnight ends up in "runners" (that means they briefly halt the press and "replate" the front page). Runners might be used for times when the results of a presidential or gubernatorial election are finally known. But the later you go into a press run, the fewer papers there are to be printed. It's rare that they keep the presses running, unless it's an issue so huge that there will be significant street sales (like when Obama won the presidency).

Hope this helps. I appreciate you reading my column,
Andy Alexander
Washington Post Ombudsman"

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