Last week's demonstration outside the State Journal-Register, aptly, started nearly a half-hour late, as the paper's newsroom staff and supporters protested a decision to move print deadlines from 9 p.m. (bad enough, considering the deadline was 11 p.m. not so long ago) to 4 p.m., which will presumably prevent print subscribers from getting election results or high school game scores in their morning newspapers. Reporters are genetically predisposed to push deadlines, but this, the SJ-R's staff says, is ridiculous, and no one has told them why deadlines changed starting this week. Jeff Gordon, a St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports columnist and president of the United Media Guild that represents SJ-R newsroom employees, said that no other Gannett paper in Illinois has had deadlines moved ahead like this. "It's hard to imagine a city this size living in a news desert," Gordon said. "This deadline kills the print circulation, which kills advertising." High school sports coaches, including Ken Leonard, coach of the Sacred Heart-Griffin football team, and his son, Derek Leonard, coach of the Rochester high school football squad, both have publicly opposed the deadline change. "I can't tell you how many people have told me, 'Man, I can't believe what the paper has come to," Ken Leonard said in a video posted on the guild's Twitter page. "They've stopped getting the paper." State Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, weighed in with a tweet: "A 4 p.m. deadline makes my community less informed. Simple as that."

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