Burned by the cycle

Well, we got tripped up by a 3 a.m. shift in the news again. A few months ago it was the premature announcement that several trapped miners had been found alive. Sadly, they weren’t. This time it was the 11th-hour stay of the execution of Sedley Alley.
Our night staff hustled like crazy to adjust Page 1 to news of the stay. It was good work and resulted in a dramatic front page. But by the time the paper was delivered, the stay had been lifted and Alley was dead.
At least nowadays we can update the news on our Web site rather than having to wait until the next day’s paper to correct the story. .

3 thoughts on “Burned by the cycle

  1. Old Hickory

    The local TV news stations left it “stayed” in their 11 o’clock newscasts and has the misfortune of trying to explain why the prisoner was executed in the early morning newscasts. The unique nature of going to a retired judges home in Nashville at 10:00 p.m should have been a tip to a savy reporter than this in an unusual legal step which may not pass the smell test. In the Alley case, it did not, and the judges in Cincinnati (which were also awake and working) at midnight knew that it didn’t pass the smell test so they tossed the stay and Alley was executed within the hour.
    Reporters in Knoxville need to know and understand the abundance of legal and judicial resources expended during the last 12 hours prior to an execution. On a scheduled execution date, all 5 Tennessee Supreme Court justices and in Nashville and the clerk’s offices are manned. The federal court in Nashville, while closed, has a magistrate on call for emergency legal matters, along with the US Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, both of which have the scheduled execution dates on their calanders. If you want to cover and execution, you need to be somewhere besides standing at the fence of the Riverbend Maximum Security Penitentiary, you need to be at the courthouses and at the lawyer’s offices and at the State Attorney General’s offices in Nashville.
    If you want to seperate the News Sentinel from the rest of the pack, file a request for media coverage of the actual execution, it’s a part of the judicial process which is subject to the open court provisions announced by the Tennessee Supreme Court. Of course, news/editorial judgment may restrict actual use of the photographs and other images, however, news gathering is where the News Sentinel has its greatest deficiencies. You never know, you may actually have an inmate which will consent to the media coverage of their execution.
    Be a newspaper, be a journalist, not just a daily rag full of tacky and worthless advertising, filler, and wire stories.

  2. Tnmonster

    Does anyone even care about these convicted dirtbags that killed someones loved ones! It takes way to long for justice to be served for these families and as they wait for justice they must read and hear the media reports on they’re possible stay,we need to put in an express lane and stop cuddling these people.
    Make a sport out of this, take them to Neyland football field, sell buckets of golfballs and stone them and if they live past the hundreds of thousands of goldballs flying onto the field maybe you’ll have a real story about life and death and the profit just made to fund the prison system.

  3. Arlis H

    It is just whistling in the dark to think that this will EVER be a good newspaper. As long as they have the same management and writing staff they are just a step above (or perhaps below) the throw aways.

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