Less space, more filling

May 09, 2009|By LINDA DUFFIELD

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

That proverb is dead on in some cases, dead wrong in others.

Take my line of work.

Newspapers have spread their wings and expanded way beyond newsprint and ink to Web pages, e-alerts, blogs, Facebook, Twitter and -- in The Herald-Mail's case -- cable television in collaboration with Antietam Cable.

Things are changing in the newspaper industry, and some things will never be the same.

But in other respects, things are staying the same.

At The Herald-Mail, we retain our commitment to providing our readers with local news, both in the paper and on our Web site at And while we strive to get the news, especially breaking news, on the Web quickly and efficiently, we work just as hard not to compromise accuracy, just as we've always done in our print version.

And so, even though the options for delivering the news have expanded, the philosophy behind how we tackle the job of gathering and reporting the news has stayed the same.


Then, there's the fact that newspapers across the country have gotten smaller, both in the size of the pages and in the number of pages.

That's a change.

A ramification of that change is our reporters are trying to write shorter, tighter stories that contain all of the information our readers need while not allowing any story to take up more than its share of space.

That space change also affects the amount of copy we can print about activities by charities and other nonprofit organizations, and all those who hold fundraisers for one good cause or another.

Each day, the paper is the size the paper is. Once we are out of space for any given edition, we can't squeeze anything more in the paper.

And so, people who want information about their activities to get in the paper might find that the write-ups that are published are shorter than they used to be.

That's a change.

What's the same, though, is we still try to get something in about every event of which we are made aware.

Because of a number of variables, some events will get more space than others, some will get pictures and others won't, some will be placed more prominently than others.

Pretty much every event is likely to be allotted a little less space than in years past so all can be given some space.

I want to think that is the way most people who submit articles for publication would want us to handle the space situation. I can't imagine anyone thinking they should get their share of the space, and someone else's, too.

We recognize some might view less of their information getting into print as a slight, but our intention is exactly the opposite. The real slight would be to not publish any information about some events in order to run a lot about others.

Because we know that all causes affect people, that all events have a purpose, we will continue running as much information as we can about as many events as we can.

That isn't going to change.

Linda Duffield is city editor of The Herald-Mail. You can e-mail her at

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