What happened to Friday's newspaper

Posted: Sunday, June 27, 2004

Friday's Juneau Empire wasn't quite what you're used to seeing, and it wasn't available nearly as early in the morning as you're used to seeing it. Please accept our apologies on both counts. Here's what happened during the very early hours of Friday morning:

As our press crew was beginning the run for the final section of the newspaper (the A section) sometime after midnight, electrical problems of unknown origins arose. Some three hours later, what looked like a serious delay in production time was giving way to a much greater concern - a missed publication.

With the help of an electrician and an electrical engineer, the problems were identified. By 7 a.m., temporary - and, oddly enough, rather inexpensive - replacement parts were being installed on our press.

At 8 a.m. we had a critical decision to make: whether to take the time to do enough additional work to allow us to run our A section in full color, or print the section in black and white and begin delivery immediately. The consensus among our press crew, our circulation manager and some of our mailroom crew was to sacrifice full color and hit the streets with newspapers as soon as we could. We decided on the latter, and it was the right call.

Our carrier force was making home deliveries by mid morning, and members of our staff were getting single copies to retail locations at about the same time. As that was happening, a half-dozen other staffers in our front office were answering hundreds of calls from subscribers who hadn't received their newspaper.

Friday was a rough day for our press, circulation, inserting, delivery and front office crews, but they hunkered down and weathered the storm in a calm and professional manner. Even when it looked as though Friday's paper would be much later than it was, cool heads prevailed and problems were worked through.

As far as I know, most everyone who called to report a missing paper was rather reasonable. For that we're grateful. We appreciate your patience and understanding and we wanted to let you know, after the fact, what caused the delay.

My thanks to the many members of our staff who helped take charge and scored an A-plus in crisis management on Friday.

• Bob Hale is publisher of the Juneau Empire. He can be reached at robert.hale@juneauempire.com.

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