Diary - Alan Rusbridger

We gather up as many copies as we can and head back to the <em>Guardian</em> pub. A roar goes up as

Thursday: A short Channel 4 News film around the imminent Guardian redesign interviews four editors and succeeds in making slight chumps of all of us, which makes for highly enjoyable watching. In real life, we (Times, Indie, Telegraph and Guardian) all get on quite amicably, but convention and/or editorial competition demands that we do a bit of knockabout for public consumption.

I had been feeling pleased with my interview, which had seemed unusually fluent, barring one moment when - temporarily thrown by an unexpected question - my mouth opened and closed for several seconds, as though imitating a dying goldfish. Which, of course, was far too good not to use.

Friday: It's the last broadsheet after 184 years of appearing on rather large sheets of paper. We're printing many more copies on the hunch that the final edition might attract extra readers in a fit of belated sentiment for a form that - all the evidence suggests - has had its day. How to toast farewell to a passing format? In the days of linotype machines, you could have banged it out in a noisy clatter of metal. Clicking a paper out doesn't seem quite the same. So we wheel in a barrowload of champagne and drink farewell to the old broadsheet, as a few news sub-editors gallantly keep their heads down and concentrate on finishing off the edition. They make up for it later in the pub round the back of the Guardian, which has done quite nicely out of all the late-night upheaval of the redesign.

Saturday: The newsroom is taken over by the IT department, which has to install new fonts and templates on all computer terminals. It's a bit late to be fussing over the design now, so I take myself off to the cricket. It's raining, and when it's not raining the Aussies are relentlessly accumulating runs.

Mid-afternoon my BlackBerry lights up with lawyers demanding instant answers to some rather involved questions. This sparks a theological discussion about BlackBerry etiquette with my cricketing neighbour. He (and, more to the point, his family) have reached a strict no-BlackBerry policy at home. He's left his behind. I counter that there's no way I could have spent a day out of contact with the office at a time like this. So the BlackBerry has given me a measure of freedom, even if I do have to miss half the cricket in order to deal with the pesky lawyers. The worst case of obsessional BlackBerry behaviour I've come across recently was the Scottish writer Jenny Colgan, who confessed in the Guardian to checking e-mails in one hand while giving birth.

Sunday: A BBC car arrives at 7.30am to whisk me off to review the papers on Andrew Marr's very first breakfast programme. I'm on with Ann Leslie of the Mail, who lets out an involuntary sound - half squeal, half moan - when I unveil the dummy of the new paper for the cameras. Love, hate . . . or simple surprise? She gives no clue. Marr is, as ever, a star. I'm not so sure about the set, which looks a bit Travelodge.

Back at Farringdon Road there's a hum of excitement, intense concentration, fizzing energy and low anxiety. Make that high anxiety. We're on early deadlines to give us time to run out many extra copies. We make it with 34 seconds to spare. A minicab is waiting to rush a couple of us down to Bow just in time to see the first copies running on the extraordinary new presses. MAN Roland - which built the machinery in record time - has got its own teams in place in case of emergencies and there's a highly reassuring murmur of German technospeak to complement the experienced eyes of the home team. The presses start and stop numerous times as Bavarians and Brits pore over cyan and magenta balances.

Back in Farringdon Road, they're scanning our anxious faces on a webcam. Finally the hooter goes and the presses are roaring away with the first edition. We gather up as many as we can carry and head back to the Guardian pub, which is heaving with journalists desperate for their first sight of the new baby. A roar goes up as we finally stagger into the bar with our bundles, which disappear in seconds as copies are frantically snatched away for examination. The pub goes quiet as writers and sub-editors pore intently over the pages. They're stunned by the quality of the colour printing. The drinking resumes, the laughter picks up again. At closing time we decamp to the archive centre over the road, where there's hot food and more drink. Around 1.30am, the adrenaline suddenly wears off and it's time to head off home.

Monday: The Guardian editorial morning conference can attract as few as 20 staff or as many as 60. This morning there must be 120 crammed into my office and/or spilling out, four or five deep, into the newsroom. They're happy.

And, as e-mails and letters pour in by the hundred, it's clear that the overwhelming majority of readers and advertisers are happy, too. But by mid-afternoon there's a groundswell of discontent over dropping Doonesbury and a mounting blog campaign to get him back. We haul up the white flag and announce he's safe.

At half past five we're crowded round the TV screens watching Ashley Giles punching Glenn McGrath through the covers for four. All very enjoyable - and, of course, the Ashes are terrifically important - but Giles is supposed to be writing a column for us tonight. Does he know about early deadlines?

This article first appeared in the 19 September 2005 issue of the New Statesman, The gathering storm