The National Intelligence Daily

newspaper version,
Previous Next



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


Previous Next

Posted: May 08, 2007 08:46 AM
Last Updated: Aug 10, 2011 02:30 PM