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The National Intelligence Daily

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The NID

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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
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2Representatives 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.
3At this writing, the Daily has not converted its length estimates from inches to centimeters.
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Posted: May 08, 2007 08:46 AM
Last Updated: Aug 10, 2011 02:32 PM