Stop the Presses!: Wisconsin State Journal re-prints thousands of newspapers

STATE JOURNAL stop the presses 2.jpg

MADISON, Wis. - Election night typically means hours of chaos in newsrooms across the country.

At the Wisconsin State Journal, they are no stranger to this concept as reporters and photographers are in the field, covering local elections until races are called.

"It gets hectic," said Jason Klein, graphics editor at the Wisconsin State Journal.

On Tues., Nov. 6, the Wisconsin State Journal had a literal "Stop the Presses!" moment.

"As soon as we finished this version of today's paper, the Associated Press called the race for Tony Evers," said Wisconsin State Journal editor John Smalley.

They had already printed and distributed 15,000 versions of the original paper by 1:30 a.m. The governor's race was called around this time and an editorial decision was made to give the front page a complete makeover to reflect the most recent results, even if that meant they were running past deadline for the night.

"Think it might have been the first time I ever heard someone say stop the presses," Klein said.

Typically, the Wisconsin State Journal has a deadline of anywhere between 11 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. for papers to be printed. On the night of the elections, they extended their deadline to 1:10 a.m. They still ran late due to the governor's race being too close to call.

"You can plan all day long, but it never works out," Klein said.

Fifteen thousand of their customers still received the original version of the paper they printed. They made sure to get the updated version out to the remainder of their 50,000 customers.

"That's what you have to do. We wanted to make sure we got the most accurate information out," Klein said.

Many of the staff members didn't finish their night in the newsroom until after 2:15 a.m. Despite the long hours and the anticipation of waiting for the governor's race to be called, Smalley said, "It was a team effort. I hate to sound like a football coach, but it really was. We had reporters and photographers out in the field at both of the candidates' events and we had people covering other races out in the field."