Craziest Friday Night

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Several times last night I felt like I was drowning. Not in water, but with all of the work I had done and still had left to do. I knew a Friday night like last night would come, but I never thought I would be the lone reporter there to have to work through it.

I survived and I’m proud to say I got a lot done in a short amount of time.

Here’s today’s front page:

via thechronicle.com

To make a long story short, I had four different things to do. The one not on the front page is an update to a attempted rape case at the University of Connecticut. I think I had about 45 minutes to myself last night. Not that I’m complaining, but I really, really wasn’t expecting that.

I got into work and immediately knew I had to track down the attempted rape case. I called the courts and had that update done within 20 minutes. Walking back to my desk from the bathroom I noticed a press release in the fax machine from the Willimantic Police Department, which gave me City police crack rash of car break-in. No one knew about that, at the time, so that was another story we weren’t expecting.

That took a bit of time because my editor, Ron, wanted to do that a bit different than what I thought he wanted. It ended up coming out great, but there were no officers able to talk about the release since it was too late on Friday night. I expected that, but, still, I was disappointed. It’s nice to get a live voice into stories.

Before I finished that one, I saw a couple of tweets on Twitter about RHAM having a confirmed case of whooping cough.

Now, keep in mind it’s not even 6 p.m. It’s been two hours since my shift started. I immediately called Windham Community Memorial Hospital for them to hopefully get in touch with an expert on infectious diseases. I got through to a PR rep for them who, about a half hour later, got me in touch with just the right expert. After that first call to WCMH, I called the RHAM school board chair to get a comment from him. He was at work, so I left a message with his wife for him to call me when he got home. He, too, ended up coming through for me. I think I was able to get almost 600 words for that story. Pertussis confirmed at RHAM

After all of that, things calmed down a bit. I ate dinner, read the wire page for Ron and relaxed a bit. I thought that I was done. I let my guard down a bit, to be honest.

And then the fire call came in.

At first, we heard them call six area fire departments, but we waited to hear the magic words—”working structure fire.” That came in about 8:30 p.m. and I left to go to the scene about 10 minutes later. I wasn’t expecting much. The call came in different several times. At first it was a house and a shed, but then it turned into a house. In actuality, it was a huge barn that had caught fire.

The fire police on scene didn’t let me get close enough to get a picture or even see anything except fire trucks, but I was able to talk to a neighbor and have a decent sized brief for the paper. I had never seen that many trucks at a scene before. I was on scene for almost an hour and got to the newsroom shortly before 10 p.m. I quickly got the brief done and Ron and I got the pages out. Raging fire destroys North Windham barn

It was the busiest Friday night in my ten months at the paper and I’m kind of glad it was. It helped the time go by, gave me some clips and let me know that I can still write on deadline. I’d have to put it up there with one of my best days at the paper.

It was definitely a night to remember.

Jonathan

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One Response to Craziest Friday Night

  1. Pingback: Accepting Blame « Just Starting Out

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