About Saturday’s blank pages

Hang with us, there's a contest at the end.

This has been a difficult week for a lot of people. We were not immune.

As you know, the ice storm delayed delivery of some Wednesday editions and all of Thursday's editions of The Newnan Times-Herald until Friday.

We thought disaster was behind us. It is, but another has reared its ugly head simply to toy with us.

A couple of sayings come to mind: "When it rains, it pours" and "a little open space in the newspaper is a good thing."

It is not pouring, it is a monsoon. And you actually had plenty of open space in Saturday’s paper. So much so, your children will have enough canvas to create a wall-sized painting. The two sports pages were missing. Instead, we provided you with two pages of what is known in the industry as "white space."

In layman's terms, you noticed two completely blank pages in Saturday's edition.

How did this happen?

Our page designers send down individual news pages to the press room by computer, similar to sending a PDF. The press room then uses a computer that takes those pages and burns the page onto a metal plate using a very expense machine known as a “plate maker.” That metal plate is then put on the press. The press starts up and transfers the images on the metal plate to newsprint.

In a perfect world.

That obviously did not happen Friday night.

All the plates were made, with the exception of two sports pages. And when the press team went to burn the sports pages, the plate maker decided to not cooperate. As in, nada. The technical term is known as "it broke."

Despite kicks, sledgehammers and threats of blow torches, the plate setter just went kaput. And so we made the decision to go ahead and print what we had.

Many of you may be asking why we don't have a backup plate maker. A valid point, but as mentioned earlier, plate makers are incredibly expensive. It's like buying another car and simply having it sit in your garage on the off chance your regular vehicle won't start one morning and you need to run a 30-minute errand.

We are working to get the plate maker fixed. And we apologize for all of this.

And to borrow one more phrase, it’s time to make lemonade out of lemons and have some fun.

We hope you will enjoy the "white space" and draw or paint that masterpiece you've always had in the back of your mind.

And when you are done, please submit your creation to us here at the newspaper. We will have some local experts help judge and will print the best ones in the newspaper in the near future. And we will include a cash prize for various age groups. Please include your name, age and contact information.

We appreciate your understanding.

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