Teamwork is Key

I’ve blogged about teamwork before.

With a small staff, teamwork is in play on a daily basis.

Just this past Wednesday a situation arose where the news team had to make a decision.

Louisa was in a pickle. She had to go to court and cover an event at ECSU.

Michelle had something to cover at UConn and I opted to let her choose what I would cover. She, obviously, chose to cover the courts (this time it was Danielson Superior Court) and I covered the event at Eastern.

The decision was made in less than five minutes.

Why the rush?

The ECSU event was at 10 a.m., while the court appearances were in Danielson at roughly the same time.

This all took place just before 9:30 and we had to make a decision. I had no problem with the outcome. I had covered the toy event last year, so I knew what I was getting into.

To make long stories short, everything went fine. I texted my city editor after the event and told him everything was going to be great on my end. He thanked me for being a team player and Thursday’s paper had everything we needed to have. The front page was one to remember.

I could have complained because I had a tree-lighting to cover Wednesday night, but I didn’t. I knew that I had to help Louisa out and make sure we covered everything.

I think it’s big for reporters to be selfless in their work. You never know what’s going to happen, nor where. You just have to be ready.

Having a team you can rely on is hard to put into words. It makes the job much better and it creates a bond full of trust and, to be honest, respect.

It’s not easy being thrown into an assignment 20 minutes before it starts. It’s not always fun, but you have to adapt and do what is thrown at you.

Jonathan

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TEAMWORK

Yesterday presented a unique situation for me and my fellow reporters.

The three of us worked on BREAKING NEWS Suspect caught after schools locked down with only one of us leaving the newsroom.

A call came over the scanner and beepers shortly after 10 a.m. for heavy police activity in Mansfield in the Coventry Road/Stafford Road (Route 32) area. The area is extremely close to Windham and Coventry and rather close to our newsroom (Read the brief for more details).

I was done with both of my stories already and Mike told me to grab our photographer, Roxanne, and see what we could find out.

Before I left, he told me to call in whatever I had so that the paper could have a brief in the paper so people would know what’s going on.

Roxanne and I set out for where the call came in. We ended up seeing about 10 state troopers on the way over, but figured there would have been a “headquarters” set up in the area. We were wrong. I forgot my scanner, so Roxanne turned on an iPhone app called “Scanner911.” It’s free and easy to use. I only wish it was louder.

With our makeshift scanner, Roxanne and I drove around the area for the better part of 45 minutes. We followed gut instincts, troopers and scanner reports as best we could. I don’t know how many miles we drove, but it felt like forever.

While we were driving I was calling into the newsroom with updates. Mike was editing page one so, at first, I had to calm down and explain to Louisa, our Windham reporter, what was going on. I told her what I saw, heard and told her about the schools being on lockdown. It was chaos, but it came out great. I had called Troop C before that to try and get some information, which I passed on to Louisa, as well.

The second time I called in, I called Michelle, our Mansfield/UConn reporter, to give her a description of the man the state police were looking for. I knew she had called the school district and had a hunch she had the story open. I was glad we got that in.

Not 15 minutes after that call the state police found the man and brought him back to Troop C’s barracks. Roxanne and I went back to the newsroom and, thankfully, the paper hadn’t gone to the presses yet. I informed Mike and the others that the police had caught the suspect and we changed the story accordingly.

I know it was only a brief, but the three of us really worked well together. We were firing on all cylinders and, frankly, I’m really proud of how well everything came out. I didn’t do any writing, per say, but we all pitched in and got it done. I have no idea how either of them understood a word I said, but we got it done.

And with the title of this post, there is no “I” in team and we proved that today. The entire newsroom worked together on that little brief.

Jonathan