Twenty-seven Thousand, Five Hundred Minutes – That’s What it Takes to Bring Us to Print

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Creating a newspaper each month is a complex task, and we thought we’d give the readers a rundown of what it takes to make it happen. Before we explain the general timeline of what goes into the process, we want to thank all our advertisers as they are our mainstay. Only with their support is it possible to create the Observer free of charge to all residents and businesses. Remember, too, that 95% of our staff are volunteers.

The last week of the month our planning committee meets to determine what we need to cover for the upcoming issue. Our Volunteer Coordinator has recruited volunteers as Editors-of-the-Month for each of the 10 months we publish, and that editor is also included in the planning. The Editor-of -the-Month is responsible for writing an editorial, editing submissions after they are prepped and helping to brainstorm ideas for the next issue. We identify article possibilities, and then contact writers who can submit articles on different topics.

1st –10th Advertising

The Advertising Manager is responsible for generating revenue by attracting new advertisers, for processing ads on a timely basis, for working effectively with our graphic designer on color ads, for coordinating with our Business Manager on advertisers’ accounts, for working with the Webmaster on online ads and for mailing tear sheets to out-of-town advertisers who request them. In addition, the Advertising Manager needs to place all the ads in the paper and print the pages by the 14th of the month so the layout coordinators can begin laying out the paper.

1st –15th Downloading

Submissions are sent to the paper via email, from our many writers and photographers, and our Downloaders save the articles and photos to monthly folders on the computer under Original Articles and Original Photos. They make paper copies of the submissions and photos and put each submission in its individual envelope on which information about the article is kept. The completed envelopes are put in the editor’s basket for review.

1st – 15th Editing

The Editor reviews each submission for timeliness, appropriate content, grammar and its connection to Suffield and makes any corrections on the copy. The editor fills in the envelope with the appropriate information and puts the envelope in the assistant editor’s basket for log in.

1st – 15th Logging-In

The Assistant Editor logs in each submission on the production report and gives it a reference number. She makes copies of photos to keep on the photo layout board as well copies of the submissions for the production book. The envelopes are completed for log-in, and they are added to the prepper’s basket.

10th – 16th Preppers

The preppers take the submission envelopes and make the corrections indicated using a computer program that turns the standard paragraphs and headings into columns and headlines. This information is saved to Prepped Articles on the computer and a paper copy is made to add to the Editor’s Books.

16th – 19th Layout

The Editor-of-the-Month edits all the articles in the Editor’s books for spelling, grammar and accuracy of data.

The Editor and the Assistant Editor measure prepped submissions and work to place them on blank pages in the proper sections of the paper: Section 1 – Town and Government; Section 2 (Observed) – Schools, Library and Scouts; Section 3 (Final Hoot)- Organizations

This is like putting together a puzzle as no submission is the same length, and many have photos which should be included in the space available on each page. The InDesigners use the layout information to complete the paper.

16th –23rd InDesigners

Our InDesigners use InDesign, a computer layout program, that takes the saved prepped articles/photos and places them in the locations on each page indicated by the layout design.

InDesigners are adept at fitting, filling and tweaking articles and photos so they fit. The layout doesn’t always work the way we expect, so flexibility is key. Once each page is finished, it is hung on the wall in page order until the paper is completed.

20th – Photo Editor

Around the 20th of the month, we have a Photo Editor who reviews and prepares photos for publication. He makes sure that the photos conform to the InDesign program and have proper contrast and definition. Lightening the photos in the paper is a very important task.

23rd – Proofreading & Transmission

Lastly, the final proofreaders read the finished product to make any final changes or corrections, and then the paper is transmitted digitally to our publisher (The Rare Reminder) on the 23rd of the month. Our publisher, by contract, needs to deliver 6,600 copies of the Observer for all residents and businesses to the Suffield Post Office by the 1st of the month. Then our Distribution Manager delivers all the batches throughout the community.

The Observer is fortunate to have approximately 85+ advertisers, 100+ volunteers which include 50+ reporters and columnists, 12+ photographers, 25+ word processors and computer operators and 12+ proofreaders. If you would like to join the Observer team in any capacity, please contact us at .

Enjoy the paper!

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