A good part of today will be spent planning for all of the possibilities that could happen on election night. What will the front page look like if Mitt Romney wins, Barack Obama is re-elected, or if it is too close too call?
What if it's not "too close"? What if it is a romp?
Don't think that is out of the realm of possibility. The election involving Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan was supposed to be close, with polls showing Carter leading by as many as 8 percentage points in October. Reagan ended up winning in a landslide, taking 44 states.
Planning for those front page scenarios give us a starting point to begin the night. We know we'll be making adjustments once the results roll in. Basically you make a plan, then plan to change it.
All of this brings back memories of election night 2000 between Al Gore and George W. Bush. I had just been named editor four days earlier and we had our plans made for the big night. The polls said it would be close, but none of us envisioned what was ahead.
Around 2 o'clock that morning, the press started with the front page sporting the headline "Too Close." Within minutes after that happened, there were hints of a winner from the national media.
Forget going home. None of us left the newsroom.
Shortly after 2:15, CNN, NBC, CBS and ABC had projected Bush the winner. We waited, however, to see what our news wire services were going to say.
The Associated Press hedged, not declaring a winner, but saying that the networks were calling George W. Bush the next president.
Then at 2:41 a.m., Knight-Ridder Newspapers sent a story declaring Bush had won. It was written by Steven Thomma, a veteran of the news organization's Washington Bureau.
We had shut down our presses minutes earlier in anticipation of such an announcement, and by 2:55 a.m., our presses were rolling with a large headline declaring Bush the victor.
The decision to change the headline and story was based on the best information available. Five highly regarded news organizations had given us the same story, and Al Gore was 58,000 votes behind at the time in the pivotal state of Florida. Our mission was to supply our readers with the latest possible information, and we had delayed our deadlines to give us that flexibility.
Several of us hung around and chatted in the newsroom. When we finally left, I decided to drive down to Pat's Donuts just to look at the paper sitting in the news box, proud of our efforts that night.
The front page looked good with its "Bush Wins" headline. I wasn't five minutes down the road when the radio reported all the news agencies were retracting their earlier pronouncement of a Bush victory.
My heart sank. It was too late to make another change at The Lima News. We ended up publishing around 27,000 newspapers with the Bush headline, compared to an estimated 10,000 with the "Too Close!" headline.
Across Ohio, many newspapers found themselves in the same position.
The final edition of The Columbus Dispatch screamed "BUSH WINS." The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer's final edition declared, "IT'S BUSH - BARELY." The Akron Beacon-Journal published three editions, with the middle one proclaiming "It's Bush."
The Dayton Daily News at 3:10 a.m. began printing a front page declaring Bush the winner, then minutes later, went back to the "PHOTO FINISH" headline from an earlier edition. It trashed all 10,000 copies it had printed, keeping them from going out on the street.
The (Toledo) Blade and Cincinnati Enquirer avoided declaring Bush a winner.
Of course, the media weren't alone in the early morning hours Wednesday thinking that Bush had won. Gore himself called Bush to concede victory, only to take back his concession later when newer information became available.
Tuesday night, we'll again be operating with the best information we have available at press time. Different this time is that we now have LimaOhio.com to provide updates.
Who knows what the headlines will say.
ROSES AND THORNS: A few this week.
Rose: One-hundred lucky motorists were treated to gasoline prices of $1.84 per gallon Friday at the Shawnee Fuel Stop on Breese Road. It was part of a rollback the prices promotion to June 2009. After the promotion, prices reverted to $3.29 per gallon.
Rose: To John Snyder, 62, of Lima, who never lost his love for teaching. He announced Thursday he will be resigning in June as OSU-Lima's dean and director, but plans to stay on as a full-time faculty member.
Rose: Randall Rogers is running against Chris Rogers for Hardin County commissioner. Despite sharing the same last name, the two men are unrelated.
Rose: The first of 70 planned home demolitions took place Thursday in Allen County as part of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's Demolition Grant Program to rid communities of blighted abandoned buildings.
Rose: Notre Dame 29, Pitt 26. Three overtimes.
Thorn: To Derek Mullett, 20, who before being sentenced to five years in prison for his role in the drug overdose death of Emily Christen, told a judge that "Christen was at my house every day because she couldn't stand her mother."
Thorn: A 27-year-old woman had quite a shoplifting list for Walmart. It included three cans of beer, a Mountain Dew soda, two sticks of chapstick, a bottle of rum, three packs of pork chops, four jars of baby food, baby clothes, socks, diet pills, hair dye and underwear.
PARTING SHOT: If "con" is the opposite of "pro", then Congress is the opposite of progress.
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News.