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DAILY LEADER production hampered by Katrina

With communications and power lines down in the Brookhaven areatoday, the staff of The DAILY LEADER used generators, cell phones,laptops and dozens of feet of extension cords to put out a specialday-after-the-storm edition of the newspaper.

A skeleton staff reported to work this morning and immediatelybegan building a makeshift computer network, using both thenewspaper’s computers and laptops brought in by staff members.

While reporters scurried to gather information on damage andofficials’ assessment of a timeline for repairs, photographerscanvassed the area to document the damage – much of which readerswill see in today’s edition of the newspaper. Some stories fromMonday’s edition of The DAILY LEADER, which never made it tonewsstands or to subscribers homes due to the power outage broughton by Hurricane Katrina are also included in today’s newspaper.

Local obituaries from Monday and today are presented in today’snewspaper in an abbreviated format. Full obituaries will appear ina future edition of The DAILY LEADER once power is restored and thenewspaper has resumed full operations.

In addition to local stories, some Associated Press news copywas obtained from other parts of Mississippi and other places inthe region using a laptop computer tethered to a cell phone toestablish an Internet connection – albeit a slow one.

Because power to downtown Brookhaven had not been restored thismorning, The DAILY LEADER was unable to use its press to printtoday’s paper. Instead, the staff wrote stories and designed thepages at the newspaper office then sent the pages to Natchez to beprinted.

The finished newspapers were then driven back to Brookhaven fromNatchez for distribution.

The DAILY LEADER will operate on a limited basis until power isfully restored. While the staff will work hard to produce a dailynewspaper, home delivery cannot be guaranteed until gasoline iswidely available. Delivery time for newspapers also cannot beguaranteed. The DAILY LEADER’s business and advertising officeswill not be open to the public until power is restored.