“Seconds” before Deadline

This past Thursday Mike had me write a local lawmakers reaction to Governor Malloy’s state of the state address the day before.

That story (Officials applaud Malloy’s vision) actually came out really good. I got budgeted for “15+,” but when I have them on the phone, I just keep asking them questions. They all had great things to say and by the time I was done it was my deadline. 10 a.m, and it was about 20 inches. I started calling all of them around 8 a.m. because I wanted to write one of my own stories before, just in case I couldn’t get enough of them to call me back.

Anyways, I got word of a breaking news story after deadline and told Mike about it. He instantly wanted the story and made space for it on the front page immediately. Can you say pressure? haha. The issue has been a hot topic for the past couple of months and we HAD to have the story before the other papers.

There was no way that we were going to wait. We run an afternoon paper.  Mike was freaking out, and rightly so. My source didn’t want to talk. That I understood, but I asked my source if we could just say what they told me previously and I explained to her my situation with The Courant and our deadlines, but my source didn’t budge.

I’m going to skip ahead in the story and come back to it after. You’ll see why.

Keep in mind that this is now 10:30 a.m. and the paper leaves the floor to print at 11 a.m.

I then called the same lawmakers that I had talked to not a half hour previously. One actually was available and I got it out of him. Talking to him versus talking to my source was two very different conversations. I pretty much made the local lawmaker tell me. Something “clicked” in my head and I turned full-journo on him. He understood why I did it and we were actually laughing about it while talking to each other. I remember saying, “Just tell me what I want to hear and I’ll leave you alone for the rest of the day.” He eventually told me, but that was a side of me that I didn’t know was in me. I didn’t think that I would ever talk to one of them like that.

Back to my conversation with my source. I let them dictate the conversation. I was “weak” and didn’t get my point across. Looking back on it, I was more worried about upsetting my source than I was getting the information for the story. I felt really bad after that call.

The head editor of our paper, who sits not six feet away from me , called me out after I got off the phone with my source. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but it didn’t make me feel good.

I made up for it, though. After I got off the phone with the local lawmaker, our head editor said, “Now that’s how you do it.” That made my day. Mike was really glad to have the story and I was beyond freaked out.

I had written on deadline before (see this), but on Thursday we held the paper and it was insane. Everyone on the news side was helping. It was great.

Once the paper went to print, Mike and I were all smiles. He was so happy we got the story in the paper and I was just glad it was all over. We have our weekly meetings on Thursdays after the paper goes to print and we talked about it there for awhile. It was nice to just talk and joke about how stressful it was.

Another great day.



One Response to “Seconds” before Deadline

  1. Pingback: Deadlines: The Pressure | Just Starting Out

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