DEAR SUN SPOTS: Just wanted to thank you for all the great information you provide in your column, which I read every day. You always seem to know right where to go for the right information. A lot of us really appreciate your efforts; keep up the good work!
I have a few questions and a comment for you. First: Who decides what stories should appear on the front page of the Sun Journal and how it that decision made? Over the many years of subscribing to your paper, I cannot help but notice that what stories appear on the front page seems somewhat predictable, and I am very curious as to how those stories get to appear on the front page.
Second: I was out to dinner with a friend and I told my friend that dinner was “on me.” When I said they should order first, my friend said that since I was paying, their meal should be of equal price or less. Do your readers agree? When I take someone out for dinner, and they know in advance I am paying, I do not think in those terms. Whatever they want to order is fine by me.
Now my comment: In answer to the person who was asking for restaurants that make fluffy egg omelets, if they care to make their own at home like I do, use canned evaporated milk instead of regular milk. I find they come out very fluffy. I also do not care for the crepe-like omelets a lot of restaurants serve. Thanks again, Sun Spots, for all that you do! — Mike, firstname.lastname@example.org
ANSWER: The predictably you’ve noticed is probably due more to the design of the paper than the content. Newspapers are professionally designed by graphic artists to be not only visually appealing and to present information clearly but to convey a familiarity to the reader that it’s his or her paper.
If you looked at all the daily papers in Maine for the same day, you would see many of the same stories, but the design of the individual papers make them appear quite different.
As for how it’s decided what news goes on the front page, each afternoon Sun Journal editors hold a “budget meeting.” They discuss the news of the day — local, national and international — and whatever stories the reporters are working on. They then decide what stories will go on the front page.
The choice is usually quite obvious. For example, if Gov. Paul LePage makes a statement, that will undoubtedly appear on Page 1 of all Maine dailies.
The night managing editor can change that lineup to accommodate breaking news, such as a fire, major accident, etc. Sun Spots was working the night President Barack Obama announced the killing of Osama bin Laden a little after 11 p.m. and worked until the wee hours as the paper was completely redone to accommodate that story.
As for your dining-out question, Sun Spots agrees with you. If you offer to pay, your guest should have whatever they want, and as your guest should order first and get whatever he wants, not picking an item just because it’s the cheapest or avoiding the most expensive.
Sun Spots used to know a girl who always ordered the most expensive item on the menu on first dates. This woman was very small and never ate much, always leaving something on her plate. It must have irked her dates to watch lobster or filet mignon go to waste. But her theory was she didn’t want to date cheapskates, so she was making sure they weren’t right from the get-go.
DEAR SUN SPOTS: The Temple Historical Society would like to thank the people who responded to our request for dress forms to display our clothing donations. We are overwhelmed by the response and thank those who generously donated to our request.
We are now working on dressing “the girls” for our open archives afternoon on Feb. 16 at the town hall and look forward to using them for years to come. — Betsy via email
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