Every week I hear from longtime readers and Indian fans who are beside themselves because the score from last night’s game is not in The Plain Dealer.
Some express their dismay at noting the end times of the games. They can’t believe our deadlines are so early.
If we are at the end of the season, they sometimes note that we had a Browns score in the log even though the game ended much later than an Indians game earlier in the week, for which the score was not not in the newspaper.
Some go so far as to question our motives, wondering if we despise Indians because of the political inaccuracy of the team name.
There is no conspiracy here. The answer concerns the deadlines. They are earlier today than they were years ago. And because of production schedules, we don’t have the same deadline every night.
I guarantee it though: if the Indians game ends before our deadline that night, the score is in the log.
Production schedules and belt tightening are the reasons deadlines are earlier these days, and we’ve long advocated that our Indian audience trust cleveland.com for the latest news. Beat writers Paul Hoynes and Joe Noga post sheet music, game accounts, and other breaking news on the site as they occur. We encourage readers to rely more on the journal for reviews and analysis.
And yes, on rare occasions we do manage to go a little later than normal to post a key Browns or Ohio State Buckeyes game. These teams play about a tenth as many games as the Indians, so the exceptions are easier to justify. If the Indians were in a key playoff game, we would make an exception for them as well.
A big part of this is how the paper is delivered. Once upon a time, newspapers had full control over fleets of delivery trucks to transport their editions everywhere. The need for efficiency has consolidated the delivery fleets. The truck that carries The Plain Dealer also carries other newspapers these days. If we don’t get our bundles of papers to the depots when these trucks are ready to go, they will do without our editions.
The website is the answer, on your phone, tablet, laptop or desktop. Full access is included with all The Plain Dealer subscriptions. Indian news online is always the most recent. Perhaps the easiest way to get involved is to use our cleveland.com apps for your phone, available for free in the various app stores.
The other question I get regularly is about which stories get the most front page space. Sometimes these stories are lighter than the hard news elsewhere on the page, and people ask why the most important news of the day doesn’t always get high.
We have long discussions every day about what’s happening on the front page, and the mix often changes until the deadline. But we don’t aim for the most important story in the big playground every day. Sometimes when we have great photos to go along with a story that we chose for page 1, we give that story the playing field, to highlight the images. We’ve never said that the story we play the most is the story we consider the most important.
Choosing stories for page 1 is an interesting exercise. Some days it is easy. Three or four stories clearly deserve to be there. On the slower days we try to mix up what’s going on there, to keep the page interesting.
All of that to say, please don’t interpret the front page story game to mean that we value each other. We appreciate all the stories we put on the front page. That’s why they’re here.