Joe McQuaid's Publisher's Notebook: A perfect storm of production problems

The power of the press literally doesn’t mean much when there is no power to run the press.

Granite Staters who may still be without electricity one week after the strong October storm probably aren’t much interested in another’s tale of woe. A hot shower and cable access take priority.

This column isn’t an “all about us” moment but just an effort to let our readers and advertising customers know how things work, and sometimes don’t work, in our corner of the communications world.

Initially, we got lucky. Printing last Monday’s newspaper was completed just before our printer in Dover, and people all over the state, lost power.

But then our network of truckers and independent news carriers had to wrestle with the storm’s wreckage.

Not only were street lights out, so were whole streets and main roads. Navigation was time consuming and dangerous. Some carriers couldn’t get to drop sites. Some carriers also have other jobs and can only devote so much time to delivering.

When that happens, we open our eEdition (the print paper, in page-for-page form) at If we couldn’t get the paper to you or you couldn’t get to your store to buy it, the eEdition was available to all. (It is always available to subscribers who have registered their accounts.)

Our news staff and correspondents spent Monday reporting on the storm for and for the next day’s paper. And that’s bearing in mind that a lot of our people had their own power and road issues.

But, wait, if the power was out at the press, would it be restored in time to print Tuesday’s paper?

That wasn’t determined until early that evening, which is why Tuesday’s page count was limited and didn’t include our opinion pages.

So all good thereafter? Not exactly. Wednesday brought word that the power outage had delayed a planned press upgrade at Dover, meaning more limited page counts.

And then that was topped by even more serious computer issues here that made for another scramble and required staff and managers to step up with creativity, skills, and a tireless work ethic that never ceases to amaze me.

It all came together under firm and confident leadership from a guy who is up to 21st-century challenges.

I’m not boasting, although I will take credit for marrying the boss’ mother a few decades ago.

Write to Joe McQuaid at or on Twitter at @deucecrew.