I’m going to let you in on a little secret: the week we call “production week” for the print editions of Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People is always a little hectic. There are stories to finish, that one source finally calls you back, there are covers to choose, and advertisements that our ad sales team needs to sign off on.
Every page is looked at by just about everyone on staff – usually about three times before everything is said and done. Every story is read over even more than that, when you count the writer’s own edits, our editorial team’s edits, and then the edits on the page.
And normally, we do that all together. In fact, it’s kind of discouraged to be out of the office too much during production week – and on deadline day, it’s downright verboten unless you have a really, really, really good reason.
Until that is, the pandemic hit.
We’ve all been encouraged to stay away from the office for now, so we’re all working from home – just like many of you. When we realized we’d be creating entire issues with none of us in the office, we were a little worried about how that would look.
How do you check pages for errors when nobody is in the same room, looking at a physical copy they can mark up with a red pen? Would the VPN allow us all to be on at once, in the same document, like we could at the office (the answer to that is uh, not exactly)? Would our individual internet plans be robust enough to handle two people (or more) working from home, plus (in our case) a homeschooling child?
It’s a long story, but the gist is that it required a lot of emails and discussion, and overall, a couple of conference calls.
But now that the issues are in newsstands and mailboxes, I cannot be prouder of the work our team did. We set out at the beginning of our planning to create two issues that acknowledged our new reality but more importantly told the stories of resilience, kindness, and community.
I miss all of my coworkers, and the banter we had in the office. I miss the tomato soup from the deli downstairs. I am a little sad that our great interns – Dahlia Faheid, Susie Avila, and Bria Graves – didn’t get as much of the newsroom experience we all hoped they would get. They did, however, roll up their sleeves and put in some hard work right along with us – helping make sure People Newspapers continued to bring our readers news daily through this website, weekly through our newsletters, and monthly through our print publications.
The three may not have gotten to spend as much time in our newsroom as we thought they would, but what they did get, I posit, is a really accurate reflection of what it means to be a journalist. We can report from anywhere (even a war zone) and do our jobs in unlikely circumstances (I once wrote an entire story on a paper bag and then read it aloud to an editor over a payphone because cell phone coverage was spotty).
Please let us know what you think of the May issue, and when you pick it up, know it was created by people just like you – working from a makeshift home office, probably reminding a 9-year-old a couch is not a trampoline.
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