Late-night team is crucial to all
Somewhere after number 728, I gained a whole new respect for the process that takes my words to your doorstep.
Of course, by number 1,000, I wasn’t thinking about much except the pain.
Last Friday night — and into the wee hours of Saturday morning — a crew of newspaper employees spent approximately five hours feverishly inserting sections of the newspaper into each other, rolling them up and bagging them for the carriers to deliver.
I was among the crewmembers, as were newsroom employees Emily Lane, Michael Kerekes and Ben Hillyer. Representatives from advertising and circulation shared in the work, as did my husband and our publisher Kevin.
We were the rookies; approximately 15 members of our regular mail room crew filled the role of professionals.
The professionals had called up a few rookie leaguers for backup because the workload was especially intense.
Saturday’s newspaper — The Gift — was distributed to nearly every household in Natchez, Vidalia and Adams County. Our pressroom crew printed approximately 8,000 more newspapers than we normally do.
That meant we had close to 18,000 newspapers to insert (the C and D sections must be manually placed into the A and B sections), roll, bag and send out the door.
Just in case you need a visual, 18,000 copies of a 32-page newspaper stacked atop four-foot tables quickly becomes a wall of newspapers tall enough to dwarf the person standing next to you.
Kevin and I shared duties on the first 728 newspapers — all of which went to Vidalia, I believe. At some point after 1:30 a.m., as we worked through our next set of 400 to 500 newspapers, the need to battle delirium, roll faster and settle our competitive score prompted a race.
The results, of course, proved that I can roll and bag newspapers faster than Kevin.
But with the championship on my resume, the pain of standing up, leaning over a table and using my arms in entirely new ways truly kicked in.
We finished at approximately 2:30 a.m. Though many carriers still had a long morning ahead of them.
The rookies — and the professionals — went home hurting and exhausted. Things weren’t much better when I awoke Saturday.
But now that my arms, back and feet have stopped aching, I can enjoy a new appreciation for “the professionals” who do similar work every night of the week.
They are a vital link from me to you, and without them my words would be nothing.
My first exposure to the grand process of newspaper publishing came decades ago through an episode of “Reading Rainbow” on PBS.
It was cool then and cooler today.
We do what we do for you. But if your newspaper was late Saturday morning — or poorly rolled and bagged — I apologize.
You might have been number 728.
Julie Cooper is the managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or firstname.lastname@example.org.