In search of Christopher Columbus

Columbus Day is confusing. What’s open? What’s closed?

Back in the day, newspapers ran textboxes (usually in a grid format) that listed holiday closings for banks, post offices, courts, libraries and schools. Information about garbage pickup was usually included too.

Copy editors and page designers lucky enough to work for newspapers with zoned editions had to deal with “closings boxes” tailored to specific readers in different circulation areas. This made sense for those readers, but they were often a headache for the copy desk. The problem was the size of the box changed from edition to edition, requiring changes to the overall layout of a page — the one for Rockingham County may be a lot smaller than the one for Guilford County, for example.

Readers still want this information, and nowadays many are looking online. The Hot Trends list at Google has these search terms among the top 100 on this Columbus Day:

  • columbus day 2008 calendar
  • is there mail on columbus day
  • columbus day bank holiday
  • us postal service holidays
  • is the post office open on columbus day

So, readers are looking for this information. Are they finding it easily? Not at prominent North Carolina news sites. Searches at WRAL.com and the Greensboro paper’s site were fruitless. The News & Observer’s site has this brief tucked away. A search at the Charlotte Observer’s site turned up this list.

None of these sites had Columbus Day information on its homepage. Was that the right call?

UPDATE: This post is attracting some readers looking for that elusive Columbus Day information. I’m sorry I cannot provide that, but be sure to let your local media know as they plan for the Veterans Day closings.

2 thoughts on “In search of Christopher Columbus

  1. Earlier today, the closures list was one of the most viewed stories on latimes.com … proving your point!

  2. When I worked in NY with one firm we had a policy that everyone could take off the ethnic holiday of their own choosing. If you skipped St Patrick’s Day or Rosh HaShanah you always had Columbus Day to fall back on.

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