Minister's Study

Ministering, writing, and wrestling in a land flowing with sweet tea and deep-fried food

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Some days it just doesn't pay...

Well, okay, since I'm paid by the hour, I guess it technically pays to be in the newspaper business, no matter how far behind schedule we are. But still.

I finished my writing unusually early Monday (just before midnight -- I'd forgotten to write a brief update on all the ridiculousness surrounding Rep. Thomas Wright, but I didn't realize that then, and neither did the editor).

So I went home and got an unprecedented six or seven hours of sleep, I think, and went into Tuesday feeling unusually good, in spite of some holdover from the flu.

I came in early on Tuesday to help with the proof-reading, and when I got there, I was alone (usually I find my editor still squinting bleary-eyed at his computer). I turned on my editor's computer, and decided that him not being there wasn't a terribly good thing.

Almost none of the first five pages were laid out. His stories weren't on the page. Of course, then I remembered that my last one wasn't written yet, so I dashed it off (not much to write -- the board of elections isn't saying much about their investigation, and neither Wright nor his lawyer returned my calls).

The editor and rest of the crew still weren't there (like I said, I got there pretty early and finished that article quickly). I don't know how to do layout. So I just started proofing the back pages of the paper someone else laid out, and fixing the mistakes I knew how to fix.

Eventually, people started coming in. It turned out the editor had finally gone home to get some sleep (poor bloke hasn't been getting enough of that lately, and it's got to be draining to hardly sleep at all every single Monday night). He still probably only got three or four hours of sleep.

He came back in, and I figured we were going to be okay, because we had all the stories already and all the art (great photos, this week, by the way), and some layout was already done. Others trickled in to help proof the pages.

Then Senator Soles called. He had introduced a change to a bill that had the whole east side of the county up in arms, and it had to be handled by the editor (he wrote the story on the subject -- it would have taken him as long to catch one of us up on it as to do it himself). It had to be done yesterday, or we'd be scooped by the other papers, one of which goes to press between 12 and 24 hours after we do.

And we kept running into hitch after hitch. The paper wouldn't print from editor's computer for a while. There was only one other computer that could access the pages, so only one other person could be laying out or correcting problems at a time -- and the owner, the only other person who really knew how to lay out pages, didn't get there until pretty late.

A sweet old lady who writes feature pieces for us told one of her friends that she could stop by and talk to the editor that morning, and he couldn't get rid of her (he's too nice, sometimes, but hey, that's a nice switch from the steriotypical newspaper editor).

We finally had the pages almost done (quite a bit past deadline, of course), with just one jump (you know, the "continued on page 8") onto a sports page to finish. And when the editor put in the jump and went to put the page on the proper computer, it disappeared. Completely disappeared. Not in his trash can, not on his desktop or the destination desktop. Couldn't be found by a file search on either computer. Completely disappeared. We still have no idea what happened to it, even after a desperation call to the tech person at the owner's other newspaper.

The page had to be rebuilt by hand. And the person who had laid it out initially wasn't there (after her marathon workday on Monday, she's not scheduled for Tuesday morning).

Deadline is supposed to be about 12:30 p.m. We got that last page in about 4:30 p.m., I think.

The upside to the long delay on that page is that I managed to get a good bit of my work area at the office cleaned up. It turns out that the existence of a desk in that corner is more than a generally-agreed-upon hypothesis -- there really is one.

I'd hope this week will be much better, but unless someone does something crazy, there's nothing happening here newswise for the rest of the week, as best as I can tell. Ironically, that often means more work, rather than less, as we scramble around looking for something newsworthy to report.

*some edits made Monday, March 26 for clarification, context, and professionalism. Anyone who follows this blog knows I enjoy my second job -- where else do you get paid to go to a concert of the NC Symphony or blow up things? The people I work with are great, and we have a blast (not generally the blowing-things-up sort, though) a lot of the time. The fact that we aren't perfect doesn't mean we can't have fun most times, and the fact that days like this happen doesn't take away from all the great ones.*


Post a Comment

<< Home

eXTReMe Tracker