There are just two things to remember about Election Night in a newsroom.
Pizza and results.
And they’re listed in order of importance.
Just kidding. Sort of, anyway.
I’ve long been familiar with the Election Night spread, but until now, I’ve always been an interloper.
As sports people, our primary jobs on Election Night were to get out of the way early because of the nature of late-arriving results and to eat as much pizza as we could.
Sure, technically, the pizza was supposed to be for the news-side people.
But we always looked at it like this: News side has one or two elections a year. It was always a big production when reporters and certain editors had to stay until just before the press run. Most often, the carb-heavy rewards came in big, flat boxes.
But what about sports, where every night is Election Night? Rare was the night when anyone rewarded the newsroom’s “toy department” with pizza.
So we figured we were entitled.
But last Tuesday’s Election Night was different for a couple of reasons. One because it was my first directing the newsroom in chasing results and my first in charge of the pizza.
And me having just sworn off carbs — hopefully — in exchange for more time on the planet.
You can probably guess how that went. If not, let me confirm it: I ordered a bunch of pizza and ate more than my share.
I justify it this way: Calories and carbs from Election Night pizza do not count, much the way whatever you eat while standing in the kitchen in the middle of the night — illuminated only by the refrigerator light — doesn’t count.
And — hopefully — the way any pizza eaten in your car on the way down Route 11 doesn’t count.
But I digress.
Because The Star Beacon is printed off-site, we’re beholden to another newspaper shop’s press schedule. So traditionally, while Election Night means later deadlines, we still felt obligated to shoot for our usual 10:45 p.m. deadline to send our last page, that posed some challenges.
Chief among them was that the final results, expected at 9:30 p.m., did not arrive until after 10:30 p.m.
So with 10 minutes to deadline, our pages had some major holes left to fill.
But like a lot of elections, we knew some of the races were going to be easier to call than others. There are always going to be those types of races, issues or levies in play.
So the guts of a lot of our stories were there, save for the numbers. Reporters being able to refer back to previous stories for background information also allows them to save time in the writing process.
That said, we didn’t exactly hit that 10:45 p.m. deadline.
But what a job my Star Beacon colleagues did on that late push.
Reporters Brian Haytcher, Shelley Terry and Jon Wysochanski each delivered multiple stories in an extremely small time frame and photographer Warren Dillaway got us photos early and late and created an Election Night gallery.
Then designers Ari Lindoerfer and Linda Fogus put together an almost entirely local section full of late-arriving coverage in a matter of minutes. Part of that was a pair of comprehensive results charts of candidate races and issues.
I had the easy part — reading stories as they were completed and making any necessary tweaks. And as others finished their tasks, they all chipped in to read stories and proof pages.
Mike Greco, our sports editor, also helped with the final push. Hey, he got some pizza out of the deal.
(Now that I’m on the other side of the newsroom, I’ve become a little territorial about Election Night pizza.)
Jamison VanLoocke had the final task of electronically sending the finished pages to our print site in Warren, where they were also waging their own Election Night deadline battle.
Or perhaps two of them, given recent circumstances in the Mahoning Valley.
Coaches like to drop the well-worn cliche, “It was a team effort,” but this truly was.
The dedicated members of our newsroom made it happen.
The pizza played an important role, too.
Ed Puskas is editor of the Star Beacon and a recovering pizza addict. Write him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter,