An honored employee and a new/old calendar

Steve Bradley, our production manager, is pretty amazing – so much so that Editor & Publisher, the leading national magazine on the newspaper industry, chose him as one of its “25 Under 35” for 2013, profiled in this month’s issue as “rising stars of newspaper publishing.”

We’re obviously proud of that and want to share it with you. Steve isn’t as publicly known as other members of our staff because he takes care of things behind the scenes. To extend the theater analogy, while the managing editor might be the director and the publisher the producer, Steve is the stage manager. Every operation needs someone good in that role, and we’re fortunate to have someone great.

The E&P cover story spotlights workers in various aspects of the newspaper business, from advertising to human resources to circulation to news. We’re glad they interpreted “under 35” as including 35, because that’s how old Steve is.

“The 25 young men and women featured on the following pages do their work with a level of passion and excitement that exists in few other industries,” E&P writers Kristina Ackermann and Nu Yang wrote. “Their commitment to their craft is what keeps the lights on at many newspapers, and the communities they serve are better for it. … (They) are representative of the type of talent this industry needs in order to thrive.”

After stints in our newsroom as features editor and managing editor, Steve settled into “The Bubble,” the Plexiglas-windowed office of the production manager. From there he is the bridge from newsroom to press for the Enterprise, Lake Placid News and this company’s various guides and outside print jobs. As E&P wrote, the publisher considers him “a godsend for working long hours to save other people time. His tireless commitment helps the whole operation run smoothly.

“Bradley’s talents include design work for other publications and advertisers. He has written his own computer programs for electronic tearsheets and the data management system for directory listings. He paginates pages for the editorial department and typesets ads for both print and online, all while maintaining the computers, network, and (along with the press crew, the page-plate-making process). Kind of makes you wish he was on your staff too, right?”

Fruits of his labor

Many of the computer programs Steve has written are for in-house use, to help his fellow employees put out the paper you read every day. But you use some of them directly, although you probably don’t know it – for instance, the system for event listings that went live on our website this week. The calendar that appears in print every day is based on this electronic master calendar.

Steve wrote what you might call the “Calendar 1.0” program several years ago. In house, staff considered it a master work of simplicity and effectiveness. You could search it by location, by topic (music, art, health, sports, plays, etc.), by date or a combination of those.

After a few years, we switched to a different calendar program, but it wasn’t as easy to use as Steve’s had been. It didn’t have location or topic breakdowns, so online users had a harder time sifting out the events they were interested in. For example, if you’re looking for live music, you probably don’t want to scroll through pages of Rotary Club and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and vice versa. Also, the system added yet another way for event organizers to submit listings, a second Web submission method in addition to our Virtual Newsroom, email and hard-copy methods. That proved to be unnecessary and a bit overwhelming for those trying to submit events.

So we recently decided to go back to Steve’s program, which he remade from the ground up for this week’s launch. We think it’s an improvement. If you do, too, thank Steve.

Some other news and tourism agencies have online calendars with which they try to keep up with the wealth of events taking place around our area. As far as we can tell, they do OK with the biggest events, but they don’t have the depth and quantity of Tri-Lakes happenings that ours does. It takes a person to enter every one of those listings, so if you appreciate this service, please also thank News Editor Brittany Proulx and the legion of local event organizers who submit their information to us.

We’d love to hear your feedback and ideas on it, too. The calendar is a service we see as a priority, and we are constantly looking for ways to improve it, using technology and people power.