Some notes from a small-town editor trying to help build a big-time paper:
There used to be a saying "don't believe everything you read."
We hope that's not the case in the Mirror, but we realize the more media outlets there are, the better chance the above phrase can come true - unfortunately.
Combine the growing race to be first, and it's a combustible mix.
We all found that out two weeks ago when Joe Paterno's death was reported prematurely, and it spread around the world via Twitter on a Saturday night until the family, in its time of heartache, was forced to issue a statement to the contrary.
The Mirror, thankfully, did not report, tweet or retweet the erroneous information.
There are some stories in which the media should not be tripping over itself to be first, and this was clearly one of them.
Sadly, two young journalists working for OnwardState.com, which broke the false story, and CBSsports.com picked it up and spread it. The journalists resigned over the error.
It's a tough lesson for them, but one the industry - especially our youth - has got to learn.
I do think the students who made the error will be able to recover from it since they'll now have a foundation - and can teach the lesson - for appropriate priority.
Part of the issue stems from the intense competition for Penn State information. There are more than a half-dozen websites that deal exclusively with Penn State sports along with countless other newspapers and companion websites.
It makes for a race when, instead, all media should put being correct over being first.
Your paper on Thursday will look a little different.
On the front cover, taking up about a third of the page, will be an advertisement called a gatefold.
The Mirror, like many newspapers, is experimenting with gatefolds as a revenue stream.
Despite a couple of months passing, here's a story you might enjoy: Shortly before Christmas, I took a call from local reader Fred Briggs about a typo in our comics section.
He thought the misspelling of December was some sort of holiday ruse. (Unfortunately, it wasn't.)
Briggs said he's been dealing with a serious illness, "and whether it [mistake] was an oversight or done on purpose, you've made my holiday. I'm getting the best chuckle. You people are great: It puts the holidays back in the holiday season."
Thanks, Fred: That's the best reaction we've ever had to a mistake.
Mouse on the loose
A brief disturbance took place in the Mirror newsroom recently. For a minute, it sounded like a skirmish.
It turns out a mouse darted across the floor.
A couple of our staff members shrieked while a couple of others curled, legs up, into their chairs. The mouse settled under the desk of education reporter Russ O'Reilly and was later apprehended.
Most impressive, though, was O'Reilly's reaction: He continued right along with his phone interview.
Mirror Managing Editor Neil Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.