Library

 

The National Intelligence Daily

APPROVED FOR RELEASE 1994
CIA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM
2 JULY 96

SECRET

How we got into the newspaper business

THE NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DAILY

Nathan Nielsen

In the vaulted Special Printing Plant on the seventh floor of Headquarters stands a blue-gray Miehle offset press that makes a curious "whisch-whisch" sound as it operates. This German-made press is very handy for printing booklet pages, and for decades the producers of national intelligence have served up their material in the form of booklets. Thus, nothing sounded unusual in the Special Printing Plant before dawn on January 10, 1974, as the press emitted its customary "whisch-whisch." But something looked highly irregular. The press was not printing booklet pages; instead, it was spreading out the sensitive, highly classified substance of national intelligence in the form of a newspaper. A tabloid newspaper.

The newspaper consisted of one sheet, 17 by 22 inches, printed on both sides and folded to form four pages. Unlike many tabloids, this one offered headlines of modest size and careful statement. Compactly arranged with a section of general information plus seven geographical and topical sections, it presented 31 intelligence items, three maps, a chart, and a picture. Its four pages carried some 7,000 words, the equivalent of what intelligence consumers normally find in 26 booklet pages. The Central Intelligence Agency seal stood next to the name of the newspaper: the National Intelligence Daily. Beneath the name appeared a notice: "Published by the Director of Central Intelligence for Named Principals Only."

Volume 1, Number 1 carried an introductory statement signed by the DCI:

This is the first edition of the National Intelligence Daily. The newspaper format permits the reader to make his own choices. He can scan the front page. He can read selectively from it and from the other pages.

The Daily contains at least three times as much intelligence as its predecessor, the Central Intelligence Bulletin. This enables the reader to note the highlights or follow important intelligence problems in depth, and at the same time and in the same place, to note issues of secondary importance and immediacy. The format also enables us to offer longer feature stories on issues of topical interest. Because a number of previously separate publications have been brought together here, the substantive material can be more varied.

The Daily will be a security hazard. It will contain material from all available sources dealing with policy matters of great sensitivity. A single issue exposes a broader range of sources and subject matter than did its predecessor publications. No copies or clippings may be made, nor may the Daily be passed on to staffs, as stories in the Daily could be mislaid in a stack of newspapers.

Handling procedures have been devised to help reduce these risks, but the reader's cooperation will still be necessary. It is essential to keep this publication, and particularly its contents, inviolate.

Finally, the Daily is frankly an experiment; changes will no doubt be made. We want it to carry the kind of intelligence information a highly selective list of readers needs. When it misses the mark, let us know.

The departure from a conventional presentation of intelligence may have appeared abrupt, but the concept was well aged. William E. Colby had suggested it to the late Allen Dulles in 1952, while Mr. Dulles was in the tub in Stockholm, but the idea went down the drain with the bath water. In 1966, Mr. Colby raised the idea again. The Office of Current Intelligence prepared a mock-up of intelligence in newspaper form, but informed him that the difficulties involved were too great to justify further work on the project. In the summer of 1973, after his appointment as DCI, Mr. Colby once more asked whether OCI could produce a newspaper. On that occasion, he reached into a drawer and pulled out a document he had saved for seven years, the mock-up of intelligence in newspaper form that just about everyone else had long forgotten.

OCI brushed aside jeers, sneers, and cracks about classified ads, crossword puzzles, and funnies, and in July 1973 got down to serious work. The work had to be serious because the problems were indeed immense, and there was considerable doubt as to the wisdom and feasibility of the project. It was clear from the beginning that a newspaper could not be done on the cheap, as just another by-product of OCI's usual activities. It would be a major project, one that would draw in substantial manpower and would necessarily regulate many other activities. The cost would be worthwhile only if it provided a better way of informing OCI's primary audience, the officers of government who make up the National Security Council, its subcommittees, and their senior staffs. Most important, OCI was not confident that an intellectually respectable product could be produced in this format, and was uncertain whether that product would be recognized and accepted as such by the readers for whom it was intended. OCI had to break new ground; a successful intelligence newspaper would have to meld the professional and technical standards of the newspaperman with those of the intelligence officer.

 

Questions of Function and Efficiency

The problems loomed as hard questions to answer. For example:

--A newspaper is a medium of mass communication, but sensitive intelligence must circulate only among a few subscribers. Why build a sledge hammer to pound tacks?

--Even a mere four-page tabloid would give consumers three times their usual intelligence fare. Would they accept that much? And could the producers suddenly triple the output of what normally goes into a generalized intelligence publication? As quantity rose, would quality fall?

--National intelligence involves coordination, which takes time. A newspaper operation requires speed. Could the intelligence community compress the coordination of more material into less time?

--The number of pages in a booklet can go up or down in accord with the ups and downs in daily intelligence production. A four-page newspaper would offer the same amount of space, for 7,000 words, day in and day out. Could the editors of a newspaper reconcile uneven production with steady consumption?

--The consumers of an intelligence newspaper would have habits and attitudes that are not easily changed. They might tend to think that any newspaper takes a casual rather than a responsible approach and offers sketchiness rather than comprehensiveness. Could they be persuaded to view seriously that which came to them in a format often associated with the frivolous?

--A booklet that contains certain categories of intelligence is supposed to have a cover, like the top slice of bread on a ham sandwich. A newspaper with a cover would not look like a newspaper. Would serving the meat of intelligence as an open-faced sandwich violate security requirements?

--The equipment and skills at hand were for making booklets, not a newspaper, and the budget did not allow for heavy capital investment. Could the machinery and know-how already committed to booklets be adapted efficiently to a new form of publication?

 

Calculations and Samples

In the initial attack on the technical problems, OCI used the composers in its Publications Support Branch to produce justified lines of type. The Technical Support Branch, Cartography Division, Office of Geographic and Cartographic Research, created headlines on a machine customarily used for putting captions on illustrations. The Visual Information and Design Branch of the Cartography Division designed nameplates and security warning sections. Within two weeks, the first sample newspaper rolled off the press in the Special Printing Plant of Printing Services Division.

In the next four weeks, OCI and its support elements experimented with various type sizes, column widths, headline styles, map and picture presentations, page designs, and organizational patterns.

The calculations started with the Miehle press, the only readily available unit that could run off a sheet of paper large enough to constitute two newspaper pages. The Miehle had a limitation: it could print no sheet larger than 19 by 25 inches. It had a customary setting, for a sheet 17 by 22 inches on which four booklet pages could be printed simultaneously. The newspaper experiments had to proceed without disrupting regularly scheduled production. It was practical, therefore, to keep the press at the 17 by 22 inch setting. This dictated the size of the newspaper. It would be a tabloid, folded into pages 11 inches wide and 17 inches high.

Five columns would appear too squeezed on a small page. Also, the narrower the column, the more hyphens at the ends of justified lines of type. Three wider columns would ease the hyphenization problem but would give a small page more of a magazine look than a newspaper look. Four columns, each about as wide as a column in the Wall Street journal, seemed to present the most acceptable appearance, as did body type of normal newspaper size.

 

Generalized, Specialized, and Systematic

The intelligence newspaper would have to provide an orderly presentation of developments that are often chaotic. Such an arrangement would serve as a functional guide for reading the newspaper and would also reflect the newspaper's relationship with other intelligence publications. The newspaper would put together, in one document, the essential intelligence that policy makers usually had to seek out in several documents. Pages 1 and 4 would carry the principal and latest developments that readers were accustomed to find in generalized intelligence publications; pages 2 and 3 would provide some of the background materials that appear in specialized intelligence publications. A systematic production flow, with background information and items of less urgency going into the first press run (pages 2 and 3) and the most significant and current intelligence going into the last press run (pages 1 and 4), would contribute to a logical arrangement.

From the beginning, the work proceeded in consultation with the Office of Security, for security was an obvious problem. Someone could mislay the Daily amid sections of the Post or Times, or shove the intelligence newspaper under a pile of unclassified material. The Daily would carry, on the same page, several articles of varying classification and sensitivity. Decorating every page with enough security warnings to give conventional notice of the document's sensitivity would result in something that looked more like a circus poster than a newspaper. The Office of Security cooperated in the development of terse warning notices and security markings sufficient to flag the newspaper as highly classified without obscuring its message under typographical clutter.

The wider the circulation, the higher the security risk. The Daily, therefore, would go only to a few top policy makers. Similarly, few within the Agency would receive the newspaper. Most consumers of intelligence, and most producers, would continue to receive conventional publications — booklets — that are less of a security hazard than the Daily.

One modest protection devised for the Daily — and one that can be employed efficiently only with a strictly limited distribution of intelligence newspapers — was a jacket in which the newspaper would arrive on the policy maker's desk. The jacket would shield the newspaper's contents from accidental unauthorized inspection and would bear an "eyes only" label naming the authorized recipient. The use of color on the jacket and on the pre-printed portion of the Daily would emphasize the security markings.

 

Speed in Black, White, and Gray

Except for use in pre-printed security markings, color was a printing luxury the Daily could not afford. The loss of color in maps would be the price of speed. Printing colored maps on the Miehle press would take hours; the Daily, if it was to be current, would have to get on and off the press in minutes. Agency cartographers, who through many years had earned a reputation for excellence in creating colored maps, now had to develop a new map technology in black, white, and shades of gray.

As the cartographers worked out the new technology, the printers changed their ways of reproducing both maps and photographs. In offset printing, texts and headlines are pasted on a layout sheet. The printers photograph this sheet to get the image from which they will make a press plate. This is fairly simple when the image consists of black and white; the camera catches it all in one exposure. But the gray tones in photographs that have to go on the press plate cause problems; the camera cannot capture these tones accurately for the press plate at the same instant it registers the black-white image of the type. In the old way of preparing a press plate that included illustrations, the reproduction of photographs required extra camera work and hand work after texts and headlines were photographed on the layout sheet. Persisting with the old time-consuming way of putting photographs on the press plate would have forced either an early deadline or a late press run. What the Daily needed was a late deadline and an early press run.

To break through the time barrier, the Printing Services Division exploited the photo-mechanical transfer process. What this amounts to is photographing a picture through a screen that breaks the gray tones into patterns of black dots. The image thus produced, which in the process is reduced to one- or two-column size, can be pasted on the layout sheet along with the type. The camera catches it all, the type and the clusters of black dots that represent the pictures, in one exposure. To the camera eye the screened pictures appear as black dots; to the human eye the black dots appear as pictures, in tones of gray. The photo-mechanical transfer takes less time than conventional photography, and the work is performed before the layout deadline. This and other production innovations would help the Daily achieve one of its principal goals: currency.

 

Headlines: Hazardous Journalistic Art

If the consumers were to take the intelligence newspaper seriously, the newspaper had to present a serious appearance. This is more difficult to achieve in a tabloid than in a newspaper of standard dimensions. In a tabloid, headlines do not have to get very large and bold before they convey an image of sensationalism; yet headlines too small and too light tend to resemble those in a mimeographed house organ.

When an over-simplification or a misleading term has slipped into the text of an article, the discriminating reader often can make a quick interpretive adjustment that corrects the error, so far as his own understanding is concerned. He finds, within the balance of the article, information that keeps the message straight. He may pass over a small deviation in the message, just as he may not notice a typographical error. But when an over-simplification or a misleading term appears in a headline, even the most discriminating reader may get the wrong message. If he reads only the headline, he will retain only the misconception. If he reads the article, the errant headline still may have left an impression so strong that it clouds the reader's perception of the message conveyed in the text.

Distorted headlines, a problem in the commercial press, are a far more serious problem when they affect the substance of national intelligence. Daily editors, therefore, would have to pay particular attention to headline accuracy. It is difficult under any circumstances to capture, in eight words, the essence of an 800-word article. It is more difficult to write such a headline when the words must fit within a given number of character spaces, and when various letters of the alphabet take up various amounts of space. It is still more difficult to compose headlines of precision, both in content and in length, when time is running out. Headline writing was one of the more challenging journalistic arts the Daily editors would have to master.

 

More Resources Committed

From the first four experimental newspapers, OCI selected the elements that would determine the appearance of a fifth sample. This one came close enough to the mark so that OCI prepared a sixth, seventh, and eighth to be tried out on a few picked consumers. The early indications of demand for the proposed new product were positive enough to warrant committing more resources to the project.

In September, OCI assigned four pairs of editors to newspaper drills. The editors would paw through the day's output of finished intelligence for regular publications, reshape the drafts into newspaper articles, write headlines, design page layouts, and rush the material into production. The trainees often discovered that a normal day's output of finished intelligence did not quite fill a newspaper. Then they would scratch up more. The editors had a word for their drills: frenzy.

Initiating substantive intelligence officers into the techniques of journalism was one problem; maintaining substantive depth and breadth was another. Each team, therefore, would consist of a senior editor and an associate editor, each with a different area of expertise. In assembling the editorial teams, OCI reached into the substantive strength of all its division.

 

The Whip and the Wee Hours

With editors and production workers developing the skills that would give form to the newspaper, it was time to bring analysts into the drills. Articles written especially for the newspaper began to appear in the sample. Analysts, writing on deadline for regularly scheduled publications, found themselves called upon to write on deadline for the newspaper, too. "Dry run" hardly seemed the appropriate term for exercises that had so much sweat in them. Moreover, the whip kept cracking after the normal close of business. Any morning newspaper with pretensions of currency must have writers on the job well into the wee hours.

The night of October 2-3, 1973, saw the first real-time drill. The troops went home groggy in the morning, but they had put out a snappy newspaper, on time.

The analysts and editors had barely returned to normal business hours when war erupted in the Middle East. War or no war, the newspaper dry runs ground on in every aspect except, on three sample issues, the printing.

With form jelling, substance percolating, and the entire office running through newspaper drills, it was time to bring in other heavy contributors of current intelligence, principally the Office of Economic Research and the Office of Strategic Research. With the scope of the newspaper project thus broadened, it was also time to select a senior officer to manage Daily operations and articulate Daily doctrines.

One of this officer's first tasks was to explain newspaper writing style to the analysts. In the old booklet style, a general statement introduced the topic, the reporting came next, and the analysis concluded the article. In the new style, the analytical clincher would appear high in the article, followed by the reporting in paragraphs and sentences arranged in a descending order of importance. An orderly arrangement of articles would require precise copy fitting. Any article might have to be cut to fit. At deadline the cutting would be done with a knife, and the cuts would come from the bottom.

 

Fresh Approach to Intelligence

In seminars with those who would be writing for the newspaper, editors went into the rationale for the Daily — how it presented a fresh approach to intelligence; how headline size and story placement could convey to readers the relative significance of items more precisely than could the arrangement of similar items in booklets; how the newspaper could incorporate maps and pictures more effectively and rapidly than could booklets; how the problem-oriented background information that policy makers need could get to them on a more timely basis in the newspaper than in publications for specialists; how a carefully organized newspaper presentation could give policy makers a daily intelligence briefing broad enough to touch on the major issues, current enough to cover early-morning developments, deep enough to explore complicated problems, and general enough to discuss a wide variety of topics.

Agency officials, meanwhile, briefed the policy makers on what they could expect from the newspaper. The talking paper stressed readability, coverage, and currency. In pointing to what the reader could get from the newspaper, the talking paper commented: "We could not provide the same choices in conventional ways without confronting the reader with a formidable and unmanageable pile of papers every morning."

The struggle for efficiency had produced dividends. The Daily could present more information on less paper than could conventional intelligence publications. With technical innovations that led to faster ways of reproducing pictures and maps, with the installation of phototypesetting equipment, and with production flow systems that were getting smoother, the Daily was winning the battle for currency. In the months ahead it would scoop the morning metropolitan newspapers on events such as the Indian nuclear explosion and the coups in Portugal and Cyprus.

 

A Resolution of Contradictions

The great contradictions had been resolved. Who gets the newspaper is more important than how many get the newspaper. The Daily's purpose is not to conform to the newspaper stereotype of a mass circulation medium; it is to convey, with the efficiency of a newspaper, intelligence to a few selected subscribers at the highest level of government. The consumers can select what they want from the expanded intelligence fare. For their purposes, scanning a newspaper is more efficient than digging through a stack of booklets. The producers can triple the amount of what normally goes into a generalized intelligence publication, and they can sustain the quality. On mornings when intelligence of significance runs short, the Daily can appear in a two-page version. The newspaper can select material prepared for other purposes, and some material prepared for the newspaper can be disseminated in other ways to consumers who do not receive the Daily.

Coordination can work, so long as it does not mire down in haggling over commas. Astute editorial management can channel uneven production into steady consumption. Consumers can be persuaded to give a new product a fair trial. A jacket can replace a cover as a security mechanism. Those who are good at making booklets also can teach themselves to be good at making a newspaper.

 

Staff and Publications Structure

In late November 1973, the DCI decided to proceed with the Daily on an experimental basis. The laboratory newspapers had met with success. Still, OCI recognized that the dry-run issues had had the benefit of novelty, of unusual attention, and of stockpiled material. The real test would come when consumers depended upon the Daily for their main intelligence fare, when contributors to the newspaper were producing routinely, when night duty became a grind, and when material ran thin. To prepare for the test, OCI established the National Intelligence Daily Staff with a chief serving as managing editor of the Daily, a special assistant to the managing editor, and four rotating editorial teams.

OCI revised the publications structure to provide:

--Material for the President and Vice President.v

--The Daily for the Vice President, Cabinet members, the National Security Council staff, and a few additional officers.

--The Central Intelligence Bulletin, to be reconstituted with a larger intelligence community input as the National Intelligence Bulletin, for other policy-makers.1

--Semi-formal staff notes containing finished intelligence prepared by OCI's divisions for specialized customers.

--The weekly intelligence publications.

--For rapid response, spot reports disseminated electrically.

At year's end, construction men carved out office space for the Daily. In the first week of January, 1974, those who had been drawn into the newspaper project-analysts, cartographers, editors, publication typists, proofreaders, layout men, printers, couriers-completed the production and in-house dissemination of four final sample issues. After 33 dry runs, the Daily was ready to go to press for real, Monday through Saturday, as long as its readers wanted it.

 

"An Experimental Publication"

On January 10, 1974, the first official edition of the Daily went to less than three dozen principals in the White House, the Cabinet, the National Security Council, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense. Vice President Ford headed the list of subscribers. (The Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs reported that President Nixon preferred no change in the way he received his intelligence materials, and therefore would not read the intelligence paper.)

The Daily's own masthead labeled it "an experimental publication." It was experimental not only for the producers but also for the consumers, who would require time to get used to the unconventional presentation of intelligence, and who during the experiment would receive no other kind of daily intelligence publication from CIA.

In spring it was time to discover whether the experiment had succeeded. Questionnaires went to the readers. Did they find the Daily more accurate than the Post and Times? Or less? More focused on policy issues? Or less? Merely repetitive? Easier to read and digest? Or less? Did the readers scan the headlines and select? Read the summary and select? Read the Daily cover to cover? Did they find the feature articles useful? Did the Daily meet their daily intelligence needs except for longer studies and estimates? Did the Daily offer the right balance between current reporting and analytic treatment? Did coordination make the Daily more useful? Did they prefer the Daily as is? With changes? A more conventional presentation of current intelligence? A daily oral briefing? By June the returns were in. Three fourths of the respondents were favorably inclined toward the Daily.

 

Costs: Tangible and Intangible

The experiment had run up costs in OCI, with 12 people assigned to it full time and heavy time requirements from analysts and line managers, including a skeleton night shift. The project made waves that affected OER, OSR, OGCR, the Office of Scientific Intelligence, the Office of Weapons Intelligence, the Central Reference Service, and the Printing Service Division. Money costs were relatively small and manageable. There were intangible costs in the memorandums and special reports that analysts had not prepared because they were caught up in producing for the Daily, and most important, there were substantial costs in human wear-and-tear.

Currency exacts a toll. Before the advent of the Daily, analysts generally could complete their work during normal business hours. They might draw occasional night duty as task force members in crisis periods, but for the most part they could wait until the following morning to attend to things that occurred at night. This is not so with the Daily. It requires reportorial and analytical updating through the night, six nights a week, and that requires the presence of night representatives from each of the five divisions of OCI as well as from OER and the Regional Analysis Division of OSR. That much analytical manpower at night means less analytical manpower available during the day. Night duty also has physical side effects, creates analytical continuity gaps, and disrupts schedules to a degree that can be irritating.

The Daily requires firm editing, and this can bruise analysts. An OCI memorandum observed:

"Editors, like death and taxes, will be with us always and will attract the same measure of affection. The Daily by its nature requires the attention of more editors than any other publication OCI has ever produced. This fact has magnified an old OCI bugbear-levels of editorial review. ...

"Some characteristics of the editing on the Daily are common to other OCI publications, some are quite different. The main differences are: The Daily processes a far larger amount of copy each day, and the greater part of the processing takes place after the normal working day. The Daily also introduces headlines and layout, along with the peculiar problems of finite space. ...

"The late nature of much of the work on the Daily means that, compared to the Bulletin and the Weekly, the analyst has lost a measure of control over his product. He cannot, for example, take part in writing a headline for his story unless he is prepared to stay around half the night. He may not see the final edited version of his story. ...

"Textual editing will frequently seem capricious to the author, and some of it will even seem brutal. ...

There was no magic wand to make such problems go away. In June 1974, weighing the costs against the results, OCI recommended that the DO establish the Daily as CIA's primary periodical for the policy-level officer. The DCI accepted the recommendation, and the "experimental publication" label went off the Daily's masthead.

 

Character of the Daily

Each issue of the Daily carries the intelligence that the editors believe will prove most useful to policy makers that day. No edition could be considered typical, but any could illustrate the kinds of things the Daily offers. For example, the Daily on May 17, 1976 offered five items of intelligence on page 1:

--An analysis of a Chinese leftist pronouncement commemorating the tenth anniversary of the opening of the Cultural Revolution.

--A judgment that the growth rate for industrial production in the USSR this year will be the lowest since the end of World War II if first-quarter trends continue.

--A report on Syria's severe financial setback, caused by a temporary suspension of subsidy payments by Saudi Arabia and other Arab donors, the recent cut-off of oil pipeline transit payments by Iraq, and the cost of Syrian operations in Lebanon-estimated at $750,000 a day.

--A discussion of Moscow's attitude toward Syria's policy in Lebanon.

--A situation report on Lebanon.

The Daily devoted pages 2 and 3 to:

--A feature on EC relations with the Arab states.

--A feature on Botswana's policy toward Rhodesia.

--The outlook for the Free Democrats in West Germany.

--Observations on the similarity between the assassination of the Bolivian ambassador to France in May 1976 and the murder of the Uruguayan military attach6 in France in December 1974.

--An assessment of the Peruvian president's campaign to shift his government to a more centrist position.

Page 4 carried the continuations of three articles from page 1, plus:

--The reactions of Italy's non-Communist parties to Communist chief Berlinguer's call for the creation, after the election in June, of an emergency government consisting of all parties except the neo-fascists.

--Discussion of a statement on the Eritrean problem by the chairman of Ethiopia's ruling military council.

--Reporting on arrangements for Cuba to train Jamaican police officers in techniques to counter urban guerrilla warfare.

Other items of intelligence available for the issue of May 17, 1976, were set into type but were not published, because of space limitations. These items were held as "overset," available for publication at a later date.

Just as strong players on the bench give a football team depth, so solid items in "overset" give the Daily a reservoir of material that it can play at the appropriate time. Analysts, naturally, prefer to see their articles played immediately rather than to have them placed for a day or two in "overset," which they view as limbo. Editors, on the other hand, see great utility in "overset." It increases their options and sharpens the selectivity process. They can draw from it and replenish it-that is, have their cache and eat it, too. "Overset," properly managed, helps reconcile uneven production with steady consumption.

The Daily has some of the content of other intelligence publications, but differs from them in form; it has some of the form of commercial newspapers, but differs from them in content.

The Daily was never intended to compete with or duplicate the commercial press on foreign news coverage, for it does not have the space to do so. Still, it must be more current than the commercial press in covering significant foreign news developments, for that is what its readers require of it. In achieving currency, the Daily has notable advantages:

--Classified information, which often can illuminate a development earlier and more precisely than can information from open sources.

--Analytical expertise, which can detect the significance of a situation before such knowledge comes to public attention.

--Deadlines four or five hours later than those under which commercial morning newspapers operate.

The latter advantage is a dividend of technological innovations that whack sizable chunks off the production time required between deadline and the start on the press run. It is a dividend, also, of the Daily's small circulation. The fewer the copies, the less time on the press and in packaging and distribution.

The Daily's function, that which distinguishes it from the commercial press, goes much farther than scoring incidental scoops on foreign news developments. The Daily focuses finished, all-source, national intelligence on U.S. foreign policy issues for a select readership — the officials who have to contend with policy problems. Whenever possible, the Daily must do more than tell the policy maker what happened yesterday; it must tell him what is likely to happen tomorrow, and why. Part of the Daily's analytical service to the policy maker is selectivity — not burdening him with articles that have no bearing on policy. It is one thing to aim at a target, and another to hit it. If the Daily errs, it runs a correction. A newspaper cannot hide its blemishes; it can improve only when those responsible are alerted to the errors they have made. The Daily does not have the option of printing several morning editions and correcting in later press runs those errors that occurred in the first edition. It has to strive to be right the first time.

 

One Day and Night in the Life of the Daily

The Daily cycle begins with the cables and reports that constitute the raw material of intelligence. Analysts scan the material and propose articles. These proposals, developed in branch and division sessions, emerge as items in a budget put together during a planning meeting at 1100.2 It is not enough that an analyst propose, say, an item on relations between Pakistan and Bangladesh; he must estimate, also, the number of column inches that item will require in the Daily.3 These column-inch estimates, when totaled, give the editors an idea of what volume to expect and contribute to decisions on what must get into the next edition, and what can wait another day or so. The editors, meanwhile, inform the cartographers of map requirements and scout out picture possibilities through the Central Reference Service.

Coordination of a draft within the intelligence community takes place while the editors work over the draft for publication in the Daily. Either process can make sparks fly. A disagreement in coordination can result in publication of a dissenting view. In the normal course of business, however, what emerges from coordination and editing is a draft that accurately and succinctly expresses the views of the intelligence community on a given problem.

Shortly after 1800, senior OCI officers conduct an editorial meeting in the Daily offices. A representative of the White House Support Staff participates. Out of this session come decisions on what the Daily and other publications will carry, and what play the most important articles will get. This meeting also produces suggestions on features for future editions. Bylined features that probe more comprehensively into significant problems have become one of the Daily's principal qualitative strong points, as well as a quantitative mainstay in the grind of Monday-through-Saturday publication.

After the other evening editorial conference participants have left, the Daily's senior editor carries out the policy decisions and, when developments so require, changes policy. A senior editor and an assistant editor work from 1200 to 2200. Another senior editor and two assistant editors arrive at 2100 to take the overnight tour. Cable editors are on duty from 1000 to 0130. Seven analysts remain on night duty.

In late afternoon, publication typists begin recording drafts on tape for the phototypesetting machine. The machinery clacks and buzzes through the night as the production staff catches up with the day's editorial output and keeps abreast of the revisions, updates, and new items that the night representatives contribute. The Operations Center keeps the traffic flowing, and the Senior Night Duty Officer alerts the editors and night representatives to significant developments. Printers, meanwhile, make screened prints of photographs and merge map plates into camera-ready form. The substance of national intelligence comes forth as texts and illustrations on dozens of pieces of paper.

The next task: to give form to substance, to integrate dozens of pieces of paper into a tightly organized whole. It is, says an editor, like having to write a sonnet. By midnight, the editors know which articles are contending for publication, approximately how long the articles are, and what priorities the articles have. They know, too, the nature and size of the available illustrations. They have estimates of the significance and length of some articles still under preparation. They do not know what might happen at 0400 to change things. Still, they must proceed, and within a rigid deadline structure maintain some measure of flexibility to cope with what might happen at 0400. One of the assistant editors, a specialist in such work, designs the page layout-pages 2 and 3 first, pages 1 and 4 last.

The designer sketches a dummy showing where each article should go and the size of the headline it should have. As the layout man begins pasting the articles into place, the editors write the headlines to size. The headlines, produced on the phototypesetting machine, then are pasted into the openings the layout man has left for them. When articles do not fit, knives flash and bottom sentences fall. Shortly before 0300, the page 2-3 layout goes to the Special Printing Plant. There, the printers photograph it, make a press plate, and start the run on the Miehle press.

With pages 2 and 3 coming off the press, layout work proceeds on pages I and 4. These pages can stay open for revisions and additions until after 0430. Then the page 1-4 layout goes to the Special Printing Plant. The printers make the page 1-4 press plate, flip over the completed page 2-3 stack, and start printing page 1-4 on the other side. As the newspapers come off the press in flat sheets at 0600, the printers fold them. Registry Branch couriers slip the newspapers into jackets, and then into envelopes and briefcases, for delivery. The "whisch-whisch" of the Miehle press has barely subsided before the couriers' cars head down the George Washington Parkway.

Another Daily — 7,000 words of national intelligence incorporating the broad and the deep with the latest — is on the way to the policy makers. Copy No. 1 goes to President Ford, who continued his subscription when he moved to the White House.

[Top of page]

 


Footnotes

1 In May, 1976, the Bulletin was replaced with the National Intelligence Daily Cable, produced from Daily articles.

2 Representatives of the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency participate in the planning meeting and assist with draft coordination throughout the afternoon. A representative of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department of State, also works on coordination in the Daily offices during the afternoon.

3 At this writing, the Daily has not converted its length estimates from inches to centimeters.

[Top of page]

 

SECRET


Historical Document
Posted: May 08, 2007 08:46 AM
Last Updated: Aug 10, 2011 02:28 PM