Crunch Time Blues

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Nowadays, layout editors can just expand the size of a photo or cheat the typesize to make a story fill a gap. But in the days before such digital magic, newspaper editors needed a steady supply of filler stories -- short items, just long enough to plug gaps of a few inches at the bottom of a page.

Like Greta and Josie, before reading Dr. Jerz's Blog Entry about Bus Plunges, I had never heard of such a thing. As I was reading the article, I was thinking to myself, "wow, what kind of journalist am I? I've never heard of this before..." But, now that I see I'm not alone in that respect, I don't feel bad anymore.

Basically, what I took from this article was that sometimes, journalists and reporters have to be clever and witty in order to fill space. I've been there during crunch-time when we're freaking out that we might not get all the stories in on time...so I get it. I've seen The Setonian's layout editor, Maddie produce some pretty spectacular geometric figures to fill space in articles of the Setonian--over the summer, I watched as she used squares and circles and cylinders to make a golf cart--complete with golf bag on the back of the cart. Needless to say, I was deeply impressed.

Back to more pressing matters, it's really nice to see that journalists can still have fun with their jobs. It's tough to have fun all the time when you're freaking out about deadlines and who's going to get the next big story--this article was a breath of fresh air for me. It gives me hope that I won't become a writing-zombie-thing someday.

2 Comments

Andrew Wichrowski said:

I think the reason that so many of the News Writing students, including myself, have never really heard of a "bus plunge" story before is because of the role it fulfills. These stories are generally only five or six paragraphs at the most, and are usually tucked away in a far back corner of the newspaper. Because they also aren't as in demand as they once were (because of the computer's impact on news writing), they are less common in today's newspapers that our generation would read.

Cody Naylor said:

I agree, Jessie! I think that you would have to have fun with your job, no matter what it may be, in order to avoid bordom from the monotony of it all... I also really do like the idea of short, to-the-point articles amidst the sea of lengthy, in-depth, hard-to-read-sometimes articles...

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