A Day in the Life: The Bolivar Commercial
by Courtney Warren
Dec 15, 2013 | 2131 views | 0 0 comments | 78 78 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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It takes a lot to look this good.

Things don't just happen — there's a lot of work that goes into informing the masses.

As the Bolivar Commercial newspaper, I start out as only an idea — a tiny little blip of inspiration before I am ever created.

First, ideas are given to the writers in the newsroom.

That's where, through all of the hustle and bustle and tossing around, writers are able to put thoughts to paper and create stories about what is happening in Bolivar County.

Some days there might be crimes, others might focus on banquets or galas, sometimes Delta State has events, but each day those happenings are put together, written down on pads of paper, photographed and then typed into a document.

Those writers? The creators of the stories Bolivar County reads? Paisley Boston and Courtney Warren are the ones you'll see running around town, taking pictures and getting the scoop.

The interns Haley Ferretti and Kevin Pearson do a lot of writing too.

Also, want to know who's tossing the pigskin this weekend? Andy Collier is your guy. Together, he and Donell Maxie create the sports stories. You'll see those two on the sidelines, but try not to hit them with a ball.

Those documents then fly through The Bolivar Commercial computer server straight to Denise Strub, the managing editor.

She then scrutinizes every word, every letter, right down to the last detail to make sure all of those stories are ready for composing.

Can you imagine only being tiny pieces of a puzzle each morning when you wake up? That's what happens to me when Denise turns on her computer. With the help of a holiday pencil, she draws a sketch of me, placing those different story puzzle pieces onto dummy sheets.

Those dummy sheets are created by David Laster. He's the advertising manager and it's up to him to layout the advertisements in the paper so Denise knows where the stories can be placed.

He and Manda Lacaze gather up advertisements from all over Bolivar County to place within the pages of the paper.

Once those advertisements are gathered, paid for, and laid out, the dummy sheets are created and Denise uses them to show Sharon and Caroline how I need to fit together.

Ah, Sharon Clinton and Caroline Laster. Those two are the glue. They take my stenciled little self and put me together in digital form.

It takes some stretching, shrinking and growing, but eventually I'm put onto long colored pages to be checked by Denise one more time.

If everything looks good, then it's time for me to be placed on a roll.

I'm sent to the image setter and from there a long roll of black film is created.

The film is cut into smaller pieces and those pieces are checked again on a lighted table.

Once I'm approved by Sharon and Caroline I'm placed in the hands of James Wadlington and Spencer Haywood.

Now, throughout this entire process the eagle eye is flying. Her name is Diane Makamson and she is my captain. She is the publisher and she runs the show. From being the head honcho and finding the scoop right down to cutting the grass, Diane is not afraid to get her hands dirty.

Without her this whole process would fall to pieces and she is the one that would be bringing in the duck tape.

If you have a question about me she has the answer.

Now, James and Spencer are who put me into a physical newspaper form, the one you see in the newsstands.

First, the film pages are laid out and taped down (this whole process is so exciting I tend to wiggle a little).

After I'm taped down I'm measured and cut and then placed on top of a Litho plate.

This plate is large, square, and silver and two pieces of film fit onto one plate.

Once I'm attached to the plate inside a burner I'm flipped over and the burner is closed up tight.

It's warm and toasty in there, and because I like it so much, I stick to the plate.

After the burner shuts off, I'm flipped right side up and taken out. The film gets thrown away and the plates are placed into a tub.

This is when I get a bath. I can’t go out into the public looking anything less than pristine.

I'm laid flat and squirted with a solution that gets a green coating off of the top of the plate.

After that green coating is scrubbed, my words are revealed and I'm washed clean with water and dried.

James and Spencer then take me all the way to the back of the warehouse where a giant press machine is waiting.

Once my edges are bent in a plate bender a large sheet of plastic is attached and the time is set on the press.

Once the time is set and I'm placed on a large cylinder, the impression is turned on.

This is when I'm squeezed together super tight and my words, those stories, pictures, and ads, are squeezed from the plate and onto the paper.

The press, water, and ink are all turned on a large roll of paper, which runs me through different colors and those words are made over and over again.

When I reach the end of the press I'm cut and folded and taken to the insert room.

This is when I get to shake hands with a lot of people.

John Buchanan is head of circulation and he makes sure everyone knows where I am supposed to be going. He is in charge of the carriers and makes sure I'm sorted into bunches and those carriers place the inserts inside my pages.

Then they bundle or roll me up and take me to people homes, jobs, and different stores throughout Bolivar County so I'm available for anyone to read.

Rain, shine, sleet, or snow those carriers get me to the right places — it's a tough job but someone has to do it.

Being a newspaper is definitely not an easy job, so remember, it takes a lot to look this good.

(Editor’s note) Additional employees of The Bolivar Commercial include Katherine Parker, receptionist; Coretta Bell, job shop manager; David Kitchings, job pressman; Terrance Hudson, job pressman; and Hiba Tahir, high school intern.