Holiday weekends are tough. Or, I should say, preparing for and coming back from holiday weekends are tough in the newspaper business.
You see, we don’t cancel editions when there’s a three-day weekend coming up. That paper still has to get done for all of you to read. It just has to be done with one less day in the week than usual. Mostly statutory holidays fall on a Monday, so that means that everything I would normally do on a Monday, has to be finished on Friday — along with everything I normally do on Friday.
Now I don’t know what your job is like, but mine is full time and then some. So I don’t have a bunch of free hours where I’m wondering what to do — even on a normal day it can sometimes seem like I’m trying to cram in the work of several people. On most days I look up at some point and wonder how on earth it got to be 3 o’clock in the afternoon and where the hours went. And then, getting back into the office after a holiday weekend, opening the email is something to behold.
The Remembrance Day weekend was no exception. But what stood out in my inbox when I got in on Tuesday morning was the huge number of letters to the editor. The Citizen is fortunate to get lots of letters on a regular day. Those who contribute regularly know that their letters won’t always appear in our print edition (though almost everything is published online) because we just don’t have space for them all. It’s a wonderful problem to have. I reminded myself of that frequently when I was trying to get all of the new letters from last weekend up onto the website. The clerical part of the process isn’t so fun, but I do love reading them all — though shorter is definitely better, especially when you’re faced with so many at once.
Not all newspapers are as lucky as the Citizen is to have such an engaged readership. I’ve talked about this before, but it’s worth mentioning again. When I was sagging a bit part of the way through processing all of the submissions, one of my reporters reminded me of just what a good thing this windfall of opinion is, remembering how a previous paper he had worked at was often trying to scrape up enough missives to fill the letters hole.
It occurred to me that this was just giving me a taste of what Santa must go through every year.
The letters section is one of my favourites in the paper, and the behind-the-scenes work is a necessary evil, kind of like how Christmas lists precede the Christmas morning joy.
So keep writing everyone. I think I’m caught up — for the moment.