A story's route from reporter's notes to your eyes

Years ago, stories flew around the newsroom typed on paper carried by copy boys, from reporters to editors to copy editors to the composing room.

These days, it's easy to imagine stories invisibly flying around the newsroom as they move among reporting, editing, online, visual, engagement and design staff members. Of course, the stories don't really “move,” except as bits and bytes accessed on our computers. And the process is less linear than in the old days, with individual stories following various paths between our reporters' notes and your eyes.

Some stories constantly are updated online, bouncing back and forth between a reporter and an editor a half dozen times in one day.

Some get scrutinized by a number of editors before initial publication. Some are written by photographers, or photographed by reporters.

Some debut as a few words in a Daily Herald Twitter or Facebook post, or as a breaking news alert that arrives by email, with details to come.

It's a long way from guys in fedoras jousting for pay phones and shouting into the receivers, “Get me rewrite!” (For one thing, they're no longer all guys. Women make up 42 percent of newsroom employees, a 2018 American Society of News Editors survey shows.)

How does a story go from an idea to published news? How many Daily Herald employees see it before readers do?

There's the traditional way, and many stories today follow a similar route: A reporter starts with an idea, collects facts and writes a story. A photographer adds photos and video. It's all handled electronically.

After that's done the story is in hands of an editor, who in most cases already has been talking to the other staff members as the story progressed. The editor checks clarity and balance, completeness and accuracy, word use and grammar.

With those goals satisfied, he or she alerts another editor, who takes a look before posting the story on

Then the process often repeats: the reporter adds more information, the editor checks it again, the online editor updates it on the website.

Meanwhile, others begin deciding how the story will appear in print. Will it go on Page 1? How big will the headline be? How much space is appropriate?

Twice-daily news meetings led by Managing Editor Jim Baumann decide many of those questions. The conversations can go on all day and into the night, as a second shift of reporters, editors and photographers steps in, the presses run, the latest developments come in, and more dispatches are readied to land on your driveway or on your phone or computer screen when it's time to start another day.

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