News stories appearing in The Columbian are printed using the same typeface, the same ink and the same newsprint. But the path they take to the page can vary considerably.
I was reminded about this dichotomy this week after receiving two complaints about the same story.
We take our time producing our Sunday center packages for the front page. It’s not unusual for those stories to be in progress for weeks and to undergo multiple rounds of editing over several days. On the other hand, some of our wire stories on inside pages are selected and reviewed very quickly. Local daily stories fall somewhere in between.
Here are two examples. On Tuesday, Feb. 5, we published a front-page story by Katie Gillespie, our education reporter, about a push to de-link state test scores and graduation requirements. (If you had a child in high school in the last 15 years, you remember the angst about passing the WASL, the HSPE or the Smarter Balanced test in order to graduate. Now the thinking in some quarters is to end that sort of high-stakes testing.)
According to my digital detective skills, Katie created her story on Feb. 1, probably so that she could generate the art assignment and also to get it on our story budget. She wrote the bulk of the story on the afternoon before it ran, and finished up about 5:15 p.m. I opened and edited the story — I made a few small changes — and gave it back to her at 5:35 p.m. to review. She checked it back in at 5:38 p.m.