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werewillf
01-29-2015, 11:22 PM
I'm working on a story that involves a news intern writing a story the paper will never print.

The current idea is he waits until layout is done and the editor goes out for a coffee and locks up. Then he breaks in and replaces an article with his own, formats it, etc, so when the editor gets back he thinks everyhing's good to go and sends it off to print.

Is this possible? If not, what are other ways someone could get an unwanted article into a small town newspaper?

King Neptune
01-29-2015, 11:33 PM
The interne breaks into the newspaper office?

If it is set today, then it would depend on whether the editor sets passwords on the files, and I have no idea whether that is the common practice. Some newspapers appear to give reporters access to the layout files, so they can insert their articles when they finish them. The access given could be restricted to a certain subfile that would go into the final layout.

WeaselFire
01-29-2015, 11:33 PM
What era? And what do you need to happen?

FWIW, there are no more small-town papers with a single employee.

Jeff

werewillf
01-29-2015, 11:37 PM
Thanks for the replies.

This story is set around 2005. I'm not really concerned with the details of how the story gets in there. I'm imagining everyone in the office has access to a database where they can upload files.

And I'm thinking the office has a staff of about 25 or so. So my main concern is how the intern gets the story into the final version post layout.

I used to work in a small newspaper office and I know no one stayed in the office overnight, but I'm sure someone took a final review before they sent it to print.

King Neptune
01-29-2015, 11:58 PM
Thanks for the replies.

This story is set around 2005. I'm not really concerned with the details of how the story gets in there. I'm imagining everyone in the office has access to a database where they can upload files.

And I'm thinking the office has a staff of about 25 or so. So my main concern is how the intern gets the story into the final version post layout.

I used to work in a small newspaper office and I know no one stayed in the office overnight, but I'm sure someone took a final review before they sent it to print.

When you worked there was the final file protected? If you could send subfiles directly into it, then your intern could. If only the editor could add files to it, then the intern would have to get around the protection.

werewillf
01-30-2015, 12:06 AM
I never had any interaction with the final file. This is where I hit the gap in my own experience. So I'm just not sure when would be the moment to get the article in there.

Bloo
01-30-2015, 12:15 AM
I worked in a newspaper in 2007-2008, town of about 5,000 people, no interns but often hired at least one fresh out of college employee. We generally employed one publisher/editor (paper was owned by a different person), one editor/lead reporter, and two general reporters that worked in the office. We also had some reporters from some small outlaying communities (towns with populations in the 100 people range) who would email a column once a week. WE also employed three-four sales staff, a general secretary, and a circulation manager/classifieds. That was what I was in charge of.

We used....Adobe pagemaker I believe it was. It was all on one server, all I had to do when I did the classifieds was open it up on my PC, type in what I needed to do, save and close my pages. Then all the pages were organized by the editor into one big master file that was then saved on the server. A sister paper (owned by the same owner) had the printing press, so that paper would then log in, print off the pages and start the publishing process with the printer. Newspapers were then shipped by truck the 50 or so miles, 4 days a week (M, W,THR, F). Deadline was usually 12:30-1:00 in the afternoon on those days (every day but Tuesday) so that the printer could get them printed and to us by 3:30-4:00 in the afternoon so that they could be delivered that evening. Other papers in our "group" (under the same owner) only printed once or twice a week, but delievered in the late afternoon/early evening.

Also, we were all given keys to the office and could enter and exit as we wanted/needed.

So is it possible then for your MC to enter the office and change the files in that time period? Yes, but s/he would need to cut their story or add to it to fit in the space allotted for the story they are pulling out or irritate the sales staff as well by reorganizing the ads (in our paper, every page except the front page and the 2nd page (the editorial page) had ads.)

Here's what I would suggest, it's a paper that has deadline in the late afternoon for early morning or/by mail delivery. The editor looks at it, saves the master file and leaves for the night. That way the printers can go in at 3 or 4 in the morning or whatever and can pull up the file on their server and start printing. That would give your MC about 12 hours to sneak into the office under cover of night and change things up. That's my experience and suggestions.

werewillf
01-30-2015, 12:33 AM
Thanks, so much Bloo!

That is exactly what I was looking for. That's basically how I wrote the scene originally, but your timelines will help me a lot as I rewrite it.

Bloo
01-30-2015, 12:40 AM
My pleasure, glad to help!

afarnam
01-30-2015, 11:24 AM
I worked as a newspaper intern at several small papers in the late 1990s. Bloo's scenario should work. Each paper I worked at was different so you can define what the routine was. Often small papers use outdated equipment, even though the industry standard has moved on. I doubt that this could all be done without knowing any passwords but you could make some good plot tension by including the fact that the editor does keep the files under password and the intern has to figure out the password. This is possible to do with a some computer knowledge.

werewillf
01-30-2015, 07:37 PM
Thanks, afarnam. That makes complete sense and would add some good tension.