The specter of Progress is looming large

Itís like clockwork. Every year around this time, The Evening Sunís staff starts exhibiting behavior even stranger than the norm. Itís like some mysterious illness has struck causing reporters, editors and sales staff to wander aimlessly, shaking their heads from side to side and muttering to themselves. We all take on a haunted look, personal hygiene habits start slipping, sleep deprivation sets in, and caffeine consumption hits near overdose levels. I know I personally have developed a tic over my left eye.

There is no mystery, really. We know the cause. Itís Progress - our annual five-day publication which features in-depth articles about Chenango Countyís communities, organizations and business.

The finished product is something to be proud of, to be sure, but the process of putting it together is nothing short of torture for the ES crew. Which is why we dare not speak its name the other 11 months out of the year. All it takes is a slip of the tongue, and the ďPĒ word will have even past staffers quaking in their boots.



Youíre probably asking yourself what is it about Progress that has us all in a tizzy. Is it the sheer volume of ads that need to be sold? Interviews conducted? Copy to write? The challenge of balancing this additional workload on top of an already full plate?

The answer is yes. All of the above.

In theory, we have plenty of time to accomplish what we need to do. At least in theory. This year, we received our assignments on December 14, just in time to ruin our enjoyment of the holidays. (You try celebrating with the specter of Progress looming over your shoulder at all times!) But no matter how proactive you think youíre being with doing research, scheduling your interviews and actually putting fingers to keyboard, you always find yourself scrambling to meet the deadline. Which is this Friday, in case you were wondering.

Yes, this is crunch week for the editorial staff. And honestly I havenít seen this much stress in the newsroom since, well, last year at this time.

I did start the process early, and I was under the blissful illusion that I was in good shape to meet the fast-approaching deadline until the universe started conspiring against me.

First it was my laptop, which decided to have an adverse reaction to an automatic update, requiring a timely intervention by my new favorite person in the world. (If you read my blog, you know her as the Cat Lady.)

And then there is the fact that the rest of Chenango County doesnít seem to care that weíre fully absorbed with Progress. I mean, how dare they schedule things like school board meetings and visits from U.S. Senators this week!

It will all pull together in the end, I know. Progress Chenango will hit news stands the week of January 25, ready for our readersí enjoyment. And, other than a some reoccurring nightmares and a few more gray hairs, our staff will be none the worse for wear.

But right now, youíll have to excuse me as I return to my own personal version of hell. Where I will remain, chained to my desk, scrambling to craft the last of my Progress articles by Friday at 5.

Follow me on Twitter ... @evesunmelissa

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