The Week that Was

When I was originally hired at Weekly World News, I was told there were plans afoot to bring the entire operation of the paper to New York. At the time I walked into 1 Park Avenue, the design and production of the paper was handled by a team of five in Boca Raton. As Production Manager, based in NY, this proved interesting but I figured it also gave me time to learn the ropes, figure things out and bring a little order to the chaos of the editorial/production process.

All through the summer, then the fall and into the winter, there was a lot of talk about this plan still happening. Over those months, the staff was tightened as one of the Boca team got internally reassigned while another was made redundant.

In February, it began to look like we were finally getting all the ducks in a row to make the changes long-desired. We began interviewing for a new designer and were told things should be to our liking by the end of March.

In March, we were all trained on InDesign, which replaced the long-antiquated Quark4 that the paper was produced with. That was a vast improvement and it gave me something new to learn which I appreciated.

Well, we got permission to hire Kristine Schmidt away from DC Comics’ design department, and she was to begin on the 26th. I asked all along that she be given at least a week to acclimate before Boca was no longer a concern to us. Instead, around the 19th, I was told the three remaining people in Florida were to be let go on the 27th and I should go down there to oversee the transition. Ulp.

So, this week was somewhat chaotic. As you recall, I had I-Con all weekend and then Monday Kristine arrived. We got her acclimated in rapid fashion at which point I headed for home and my monthly RTM meeting. First thing Tuesday, I was en route to Florida and it was while driving to the corporate HQ that I learned my friend David Honigsberg passed away.

By the time I arrived, the bad news had been delivered and the only one remaining was Frank LaSenna, a veteran print man (who did some printing work with Joe Simon so I’m never very far from comics). Frank couldn’t have been nicer and I spent all Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning with him, absorbing as much information as possible. It was also nice to put faces to names of people I had been dealing with from advertising, pre-press, the executive suite and so on.

That night, being a mere 20 minutes away, I had dinner with Mom, an unexpected trip perk.

By 4 p.m. Wednesday, it was back to the airport and the somewhat scary notion that we had two days left to complete this week’s issue. Sure enough, Thursday and Friday flew by as we and the production and pre-press teams in NY figured out where all the pieces were and how they needed to be corrected, proofread, processed, etc. It was tiring and a few of us let the stress get to us here and there but in the end, thanks to a printer’s extension, we got the paper closed. (Sadly, it meant missing David’s funeral – thank goodness for Shiva.)

Before the day was out, we were well into the following issue, already feeling a little more comfortable with the process.

The next few weeks should be interesting. Meantime, to reflect the changes in the staffing in addition to some new responsibilities involving our soon-to-be-upgraded website, my title has changed from Production Manager to Managing Editor.

Whew.

And how was your week?

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