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Editor’s Notebook 12-25-19
Deadline Days Bring Holiday Crunch Time

It is the editor’s prerogative to offer up a ‘notebook’ anytime the mood strikes.

This is that time.

As we put the finishing touches on 2019, it’s a good time to take stock of what the year has brought. One of the ways we do this for our readers is to feature our two-part ‘Year In Review’ that covers the highlights of the year gone by, month by month. Traditionally, we showcase the first half of the year in the last issue of the year, and then start out the New Year with a review of those news-making items from the second six months.

While it can be a time-consuming process, it is much easier now thanks to the wonders of computers and storing our past issues digitally. We still have to go in to each month and find the top stories, copy and paste, but it is much more efficient than in the ‘old days’ when you had to pull out the huge bound volumes of the paper and comb through issue by issue and re-type some of the top stories.

It’s also time-consuming, at least for me, because I tend to get caught up in the top items from whatever issue I am perusing; you go back to that day in May when something significant happened or you spend a little extra time reading a story that maybe you had forgotten about. It’s all part of the ‘holiday fun’ we have around here the last couple weeks of the year.

And yes, I mean fun in a sort of tongue in cheek way.

Everyone wants time off for the holidays; that is totally understandable. We do get Christmas Day as a holiday and typically shut the doors a few hours early on Christmas Eve. Same thing with New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. However, figure in that this year, 2019, the Christmas and New Year holidays fall on a Wednesday and you have the perfect storm for our Wednesday publications.

All three papers, Riverbank, Oakdale and Escalon, had to be on the press Monday, Dec. 23. Typically our Mondays are focused primarily on Riverbank since that is the day that paper goes to press; Oakdale and Escalon normally go to press on Tuesday. But what with the Wednesday holiday for Christmas all three of our papers had to hit the newsstands, mailboxes and driveways a day early, Tuesday. To call it crunch time would be an understatement. Add to that a variety of power outage/phone/internet issues to kick start the day on Monday and … well, we’re talking Christmas miracle if you are actually reading this column.

We will have the same situation (hopefully without the extra problems) for the New Year’s edition, going to press for all three papers on Monday, Dec. 30 which just makes the last two weeks of the year a blur. It’s always a manic time, with several staff members off for a day or two or a week, but we do manage to get through it.

My procrastinating ways also made it a fun weekend; Saturday saw me covering a holiday event in Escalon and making some phone calls to sports coaches while also doing some proofreading to try and get ahead of the game. Nothing unusual about that, in fact, that’s a pretty typical Saturday. But there was an added level of urgency because I knew my Sunday plan was to join all those other procrastinators and head out to do the bulk of my Christmas shopping. A friend reminded me on Sunday morning that “there are people you can hire to do that for you” and suggested a personal shopper might be a good idea. However, I was armed with a list, fortified by caffeine and ready to tackle the crowds. Nearly getting washed away with the rainy conditions that persisted for much of the day on Sunday made it that much more of an adventure. At least the big trip was on Dec. 22 and not Dec. 24; gave me a little more time to do the wrapping.

Actually, I would have to say it went well. No one was rude. People waited patiently in line to have their purchases rung up. Everyone was very courteous with their shopping carts and took care not to ram into each other. Even the sales people had real smiles. Each stop allowed me to check another item (or two or three) off the list. There were even a couple of bonus stops that I hadn’t planned on making but, hey, the shopping bug bit and off I went.

So as we head into the last hectic days of 2019, we get ready to turn the page to 2020. Here’s wishing you and yours a delightful holiday season that will be full of good memories for Christmas and New Year. And we will see you on the other side.


Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.