Hold the front page

Whoever said, "No news is good news" was obviously not a newspaper editor.

I believe it actually comes from the war when "no news" meant that there was no letter informing you that your son, brother or father had been killed. But no news is just no news to an editor because somehow all of the white space between the ads has to be filled.

January is always a quiet time of year for media organisations in Australia as the rest of the country recovers from the stupor of the Christmas holidays and puts its feet up on the couch to watch the cricket. But newspapers and news programs are hungry beasts with looming deadlines that require constant feeding, regardless of whether there is anything interesting happening in the world or not.

As an editor, you would much rather be in a situation where you've got too much material to fill the paper. Then you can edit; after all that's the job, to decide what needs to go in, what can take a bit of a cut and what can go in the recycle bin.

Terra Sword tells me that once on a particularly slow week in January when she was editor, she put a picture of shoes on the front page of the paper. It was accompanied by a tongue-in-cheek story about somebody in the office who got a new pair of stilettos for Christmas. Her rationale was that it was better to have a bit of fun with something mundane than to manufacture a news story for the front page.

Luckily things got better this week and we actually had some stories that got left out that will get a run next week, but I'm looking forward to the time when our councils, community groups and businesses get back to business as usual so I'm not having panic attacks on Tuesday about filling the paper on Wednesday.


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