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From the Publisher's Desk – Nice to Know We're Missed (Nov. 12, 2014 issue)

What do you get if you cross a well-laid plan with a delay in the process? About 100 subscriber calls from readers who did not get The Erwin Record.
Your copy of the newspaper gets written and designed here in Erwin. Then we create a Portable Document Form (PDF) that is transported electronically to Greeneville, where the newspaper is printed.
After printing, the newspapers are taken by truck to Kingsport, where one of our sister papers, Kingsport Times-News, puts it on machines that insert the circulars and place labels to subscribers.
From there, our office staff picks up the newspaper and delivers it to the stores and racks in the middle of the night and early morning, so anxious readers will have it early the next morning. They also drop off the bundles to two locations where carriers for the Johnson City Press, also a sister paper, pick up their bundles at the same time they pick up the Press bundles for the various routes throughout the county.
So, what could go wrong with such a simple plan? Plenty! I didn’t mention the fact that the Johnson City Press is also the location for inputing our subscriptions into the computer, along with those of the other sister papers. Sometimes those inputs get behind, to say the least. Residents who pay for a subscription may not get added into the system for a week and then the message has to get to the carrier, who often just goes by his routine route and bright subscriber labels on the mailboxes.
Now factor in the fact that carriers work late hours and make very little money for their efforts in all kinds of weather. Needless to say, carrier positions change out often and new deliverers are not familiar with routes.
By now you may be looking at your weekly newspaper delivery as a small miracle in itself. Believe me, I often stay tense until midday on Wednesday. By then the phone calls have indicated whether it was a successful operation or not.
Last Tuesday was not one of those that I could breathe a sigh of relief.
Having been a Tuesday newspaper for years, that left us unable to cover election night coverage. Coming out on Wednesday now, we were hopeful of that opportunity. Our normal, drop dead deadline to have finished pages to the printer is 2 p.m. on Tuesday. Many pages have already been sent by then and we are just down to the tiny finishes.
We asked for an extension with the election. So far this year it had worked fine. We were told by Greeneville that they could bring in a crew at 10 p.m., just to print our paper. The newspaper got to Kingsport around 12:30 a.m.
With the election issues for the Johnson City Press and Kingsport Times-News, the presses were covered up. Dropping the newspapers off for carries normally happens around midnight. This time it happened around 6:15 a.m.
Some carriers waited for their bundles while others had to go on. We ended up with four routes that were missed.
So, by the time I entered the building Wednesday morning, the phone lines were chiming out in an unending rhythmic chant. Schea, who manages the front desk, was looking at me with panic as she grabbed lines and returned previous messages.
I ran to my office and started the process as well. With four telephone lines coming in, we barely kept up. My problem is being chatty. I recognized some callers, while having delightful conversations with many I knew and didn’t know.
What impressed me the most was how much The Erwin Record means to this community and our loyal readers. Many go to their mailboxes first thing Wednesday morning with the anticipation of getting their copy and starting the day. It disappoints me when we disappoint you.
Many couldn’t wait for next day delivery and stopped by the office to get a copy. Any of you are welcome to do that if your newspaper is missed. We put a lot of hard work and effort into each issue. All of that effort is for you, the reader.
I know some of you have struggled and struggled in the past to get delivery of your newspaper resolved. We struggle and make effort to resolve those issues as well. Thank you for being patient with us. As you can see, there are a few places along this detailed process of getting the newspaper out, where the wheel can fall off. Know that when this happens we are out there with a spare or a pump to get it back on the right track to you.
We are glad you missed us and so sorry that we missed you.