I'm hoping things went a little more smoothly at the Mirror last night than they were going a week ago.
As you presumably read last Sunday and Monday, the Mirror endured a power outage significant enough to delay the printing and delivery of the paper by 12-plus hours. Newspapers that typically are hot off the press by 12:30 a.m. Sunday did not come off until 12:30 p.m.
I was jolted, er, awakened from a deep sleep at 2:03 a.m. Sunday by Kate Morris of our copy desk, who managed to convey all the information and get hold of all departments despite power and telephone problems.
Those of us who have lived the newspaper industry for several decades, like Kate, treat every new edition almost like a newborn, so in the very rare instance when the press doesn't deliver, it's a huge letdown.
Personnel from the pressroom and mailroom - who print the paper, take it off the press, bundle it and guide it to the loading docks - were sent home in the early morning hours last Sunday, along with the drivers who drop off the paper for respective neighborhood carriers.
Everybody was told to report back by 8 a.m., when we were told the power would be restored.
Because our press can only print four sections at once, some sections for the Sunday edition are printed in advance.
The Community News and Sunday Comics sections are printed Thursday. The Sunday Classifieds go on the press Friday night, and the Sunday Life section gets printed Saturday evening before the first four sections (Local News or the A section, Nation & World, Sports and Business).
The press run for the Life section was about half done when an electrical transformer failed. That meant when the power came back on Sunday morning, we had to finish printing the Life section before starting the other sections. Adding to the delay, our press crew had to remake all of the printing plates for the Life section.
Not certain when the paper would arrive, some carriers last Sunday delivered the preprinted sections and inserts that they had received Saturday afternoon.
To their credit, most of the carriers then delivered the rest of the paper after it arrived to them later Sunday afternoon. We know some of you received your Sunday paper on Monday, and we apologize for that.
A web edition was available on altoonamirror .com by by 1 a.m. Sunday, and we were able to get the news of our crisis out that way.
Of course, our phones were paralyzed by the overwhelming volume of calls that often created busy signals. Those who did get through were understanding.
WTAJ was most cooperative to run a crawl across the bottom of its programming Sunday afternoon during the golf tournament to alert our readers about the paper delay. (It would have helped us if Tiger Woods had been in the field, another reason not to like him.)
I cannot tell you the number of readers who chided "Did you get the paper delivered yet?" but that only reinforced the interest in the Mirror and the place we've carved with you.
Many said they made multiple trips to the door or paper box Sunday morning. Some figured there may have been a carrier error, so they went to the stores, and when Sheetz didn't have it, well, then readers knew we had a problem.
"I need the paper in the morning with my coffee," was a frequent comment.
So, too, do we.
Keeping memory alive
It's amazing how some mailing lists apparently last forever. I received a brochure from Hillsdale College in Michigan the other day. It was addressed to Robert W. Boyer.
Boyer was the managing editor who hired me in 1978. He last held the position in 1982.
By my count (and this has been verified by Mirror newsroom historians Phil Ray and Kay Stephens), the Mirror has had nine managing editors since. For Mirror alumni and local news trivia buffs, they are, in order: Tom Klevan, Steve Sosinski, Dave Cuzzolina, Tom Gibb, Linda White, Mike Bieger, Ray Eckenrode, Pete Banko and me.
Boyer passed away in 1992.
Happy Father's Day ...
I hope you enjoy the Father's Day theme we have in today's paper, and that David Rudel has a great day.
Mirror Managing Editor Neil Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.