Friday, April 16, 2010

Journalism Junkie

Journalism turns you into a bit of a junkie....

There is a certain rush of having a deadline every day. The need to type as fast as you can, racing to finish a story by 6 p.m. Today was one of those days.

I sat down at my desk and started typing away, working on two stories that weren't in any type of rush. Then, around 1:00 p.m. my editor gives me a simple assignment due that day: interview two business people, type one up in Q & A format, and have it all done by 6pm.

Simple. Very simple, I had no doubts. In fact, I even went to lunch for an hour before I did anything.

So I officially started brainstorming questions, writing some background information on both people, and then made phone calls. At 2:13 p.m. I officially started reporting. My first phone call went straight to voice mail...... no worries, that's why he gave me the other one.

My second source picked up, answered all my questions with extended detail. Lovely. I had filed the story by 3:00 p.m. Great, I went back to working on my two other stories.

At around 3:20 p.m. my editor came to me and said he liked the Q & A but wanted me to re-interview the person because he wanted to take the story into a different direction. No problems I thought. It shouldn't take long.

Ooops.

Her assistant picked up, saying she was out of the office and didn't know if she was returning. (Mind you it's a long weekend so no one would be back in the office until Tuesday). Originally I said "okay that's fine. I still have Tuesday to interview her." But then my editor came back asking how the story was coming along. I told him the update and he replied, "well, we'll just print the first version then."

I was confused. I still had Tuesday to work on it. The business section doesn't come out until Wednesday.

Silly Sylvia.

The business section is laid out on Monday night, but because no one will be around because of the holiday, it needed to be done tonight. When I looked at the clock it was already 4:30 p.m.

I remained calm, called back her assistant and informed her that I was on deadline--praying to goodness that if she did return to her office she would get the message to call back asap.

At this point, it is out of the journalist's hands. We are the mercy of our source's time, patience and goodness of the hearts. There was nothing I could do. I couldn't even pester her and call her on her cell phone if I wanted because it was not given to me.

5:15 p.m. rolled around and I bit my lip and knew it was too late. Who returns to work then?? So I edited the story the best I could to target what my editor wanted it, and just as I was about to click "file," the phone rang. My source called me back.

I wrapped up a quick interview, typed it up and had it filed by 5:35 p.m. What started out as a relaxing morning and early afternoon, sped up to be an exciting, fast-paced day.

Just another day in the life of a journalism junkie ;)

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