First Observer production night

Tonight is / was the first production night of the NECC Observer, the student newspaper of Northern Essex Community College. I'm here for my third (fourth?) year, and am the copy and web editor. About half the people are new. So far, I think this is the best batch of new people we've had. And that's good, because we're doing more this year than we've done at any point in my time here before.

First big thing: we're getting a website. It isn't live yet, but is going to be at www.observer.necc.mass.edu.

It's going to be running on Wordpress, which is convenient. But I've got no experience with editing other people via Wordpress, and I've discovered a new and exciting potential problem: stories go through three or four stages of edits a night, usually right on the InDesign file -- so it's not going to be convenient to get the most-edited version of the story up on the web.

Another exciting challenge is that we're going to try to get content up on the web regularly, which means delayed publication on the paper, but it also means getting stories online ahead of the issue they'll be printed in, as well as getting up stories that won't make it to the paper at all.

The other thing we're doing is getting a Lawrence Editor.

NECC has three campuses: the Haverhill campus, the Lawrence campus, and the Riverwalk campus, which is also in Lawrence. But the Observer's press room, and the entire journalism program, are both in Haverhill. So, historically, we've done a profoundly bad job of covering things going on in Lawrence.

We did a little better last year, but this year we're attempting to put ourselves on the spot and devote a whole page every issue exclusively to Lawrence content.

Usually, a first production night runs till about 10 p.m., or much later. It's 7:45, and we're basically done -- just finishing some last details. So I'm optimistic.