I would like to use this space as a chance to apologize to our readers for an egregious error that occurred in last week?s issue. As you are probably aware, the third page of the paper was clearly a mistake. The page printed was not the final version of the page, but an earlier draft. As a result, the headlines that were published were ?dummy? headlines, and the captions were not finished. I was acting as Editor-in-Chief during our chief?s leave for academic reasons; the responsibility and the blame are fully mine. I am sorry.
This was a simple mistake in production; we had a final version of that page that was never seen by our readers. These errors were not the result of malice or belligerence, but of incompetence, specifically on my behalf. In order to explain how this mistake happened, I would like to walk through our regular production process. I hope this makes the production of The Tartan easier to understand.
The Tartan begins its production cycle on Monday. Each section holds a meeting at the beginning of the week, where articles are assigned to writers. Our writers then spend the week writing their stories and getting interviews. By Friday, our writers have submitted their stories, and the editing process begins. In the meantime a staff of photographers and artists work to provide graphical content to accompany these stories.
Once an article has been edited by the appropriate section editor, the Editor-in-Chief reviews it. Two copy editors then review the article in sequence. These editors perform typographical checks and ensure that the articles follow a consistent style. After the copy editors have reviewed the article, it is sent to the layout staff.
The layout staff is responsible for taking the finished material and placing it on the page, one of the most difficult tasks in publishing a newspaper. Every article must be made to fit. The layout staff is assisted by the production staff, who determine which sections go on which pages and provide templates for each page. Furthermore, production is responsible for placing advertisements.
Once the layout staff has designed all the articles on a page, the page is sent back to the copy staff. They now check all elements of the page to make sure that they conform to the Tartan?s style. This page is referred to as ?seconds,? denoting a second proof.
After copy has made corrections, the page is sent back to the layout staff, where these corrections are made on the computer. This process is repeated with ?thirds? and then ?finals.? These are reviewed by the Editor-in-Chief, who makes any necessary changes. The page is then finished and is sent to the publisher.
Last week, ?seconds? of the third page were published instead of ?finals.? Due to problems with our computers, changes had been made on a local copy rather than on our server. When it came time to send the page, an incorrect copy was sent. It is the Editor-in-Chief?s job to guarantee that the right files are sent. I made a mistake.
Every week, dozens of people work to perform the steps I described above. Throw in a number of people who work on the non-content aspect of The Tartan, and we have a very large organization. My staffers work diligently every week to produce the best paper they can and perform a service to the community. We hold ourselves to an incredibly high standard. When we fail to meet this standard, we feel that we let down the community. I apologize.