Napa Valley Register produces paper amidst quake damage

Tuesday, August 26, 2014
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After the 6.0 earthquake badly damaged their newsroom, the Napa Valley Register still managed to produce the paper for the residents.

NAPA, Calif. (KGO) -- In a breaking news situation, there are large numbers of people who turn to local papers, online and television news outlets for the kind of information that media outlets can provide. And to that end, the Napa Valley Register bent over backwards to make sure the paper went out, even though their newsroom was badly damaged. The fine journalists there did everything they possibly could to keep the information flowing to their many readers.

One of the most important editions of the Napa Valley Register almost didn't happen, but it did happen because of the tremendous effort made by the paper and its staff. And they made it happen because of that old adage, "The news never stops."

"We'll be in business, definitely. You can count on it," publisher Brenda Speth said.

That's Speth's promise to her paper's readers -- a promise that the Napa Valley Register will continue covering the news even though the earthquake has covered them.

It was almost a miracle that the daily newspaper, with a circulation of 12,000, was able to print and distribute a full edition on time. That's because the earthquake did so much damage inside their newsroom, it was uninhabitable. The management meeting was being held outside. The editors were using a conference room, which was assessed to be safe, as the temporary newsroom. And even worse, its gigantic printing press had cracked.

They have a seven-unit press, each unit weighting 16,000 pounds, moved four inches across the concrete floor. But the paper was able to use social media and get the news across on its website, while another newspaper in Fairfield printed the paper for the Register. They were able to do their jobs and make deadline.

"As you know, you go into that news coverage mode and you put everything else aside," Speth said.

The Napa Valley register covers the news. No one here thought it would become part of the news.

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