We began talking about our election night front page a week ago, about the time expanding our deadline was discussed.
In many ways, one dictates the other.
Because we now print the Lexington Dispatch, our sister newspaper just down the interstate, we don’t have much wiggle room when it comes to shifting our deadline from its normal 12:15 a.m. After all, the Dispatch has to run in time for its delivery to Lexington customers. What’s more, our carriers also deliver the Greensboro News and Record.
So the put-up-or-shut-up time dawns with little remorse.
This year all the polls — and really, aren’t there about of hundred of them these days — offer a lot of conflicting information about how the presidential race is going to go. But almost all agree it will be close — perhaps as close as 2000 or 2004 when a few votes either way could alter the outcome and most East Coast newspapers went to press without a result.
This year our deadline to publish is 1 a.m. and we have a plan in place if the presidential race isn’t decided by then. Our graphics editor Linda Bowden produced a front page design that will allow our copydesk to go from “Obama wins” to “Romney wins” to “Neck and neck” with very little sweat or time involved. Any decisiion made near 1 will come quickly and our people have to move with exceptional speed. We want to give them a fighting chance to do so.
Obviously, the presidential race is the one most are focused upon but we also tried to give our local stories some front page coverage as well. As in 2008, we produced an election ticker at the top with news blurbs about the bond referendum, sales tax vote, Register of Deeds race, etc. We’re doing so again.
Here’s a glimpse of the A1 page template Linda Bowden produced for our desk. Everything on the page is pretty much a place-holder. The things listed here are not to be considered results or even predicted results — just a skeleton of what the page might look like later tonight when it rolls off our press. It’ll be changing rapidly as Wednesday begins to break through.
Hopefully at 1 a.m.