Way back when in September of 2010, when first informed I would have an opportunity to write my very own weekly column for The Evening Sun, I was – at first – both overjoyed and ... well, scared half to death. Unlike your typical hard news story, columns are opinion pieces, and it’s safe to say those who know me best know this, at least ... I have never hesitated much (if at all) when it comes to voicing my opinion, no matter the topic.
Add to that any columnist’s number one priority – making deadline – and my fears spiked dramatically. Those days, as a cub reporter for our hometown daily, deadline loomed like some ravenous beast, just waiting to swoop in for the kill; I lived in constant fear wondering if I could handle the pressure and the responsibility (which seems extremely funny now, looking back).
As such, I spent that first weekend as an honest-to-God newspaper columnist just a-typing away, penning a total of four opinion pieces which would appear at some point over the course of the next month or two. What can I say? I was convinced the only way I would ever make my weekly 8 a.m. deadline was if my work was already done. No proscrastination here, no sir, no way.
Fast forward five or six months and I’m sure you can imagine what had happened. Not only had I gotten used to voicing my personal feelings concerning any number of topics, I had “found my groove,” so to speak (some would call it laziness, perhaps), and began typing up each week’s opinion piece the day before it was due in the queue. Months (maybe only weeks) later, and it was, “Well, if I can get a good head start on tomorrow’s column I should have no problem finishing it in the morning.”
That, I’m afraid, is a trend that continues to this day. Need proof? It’s 8:30 a.m. on this beautiful Friday morning and this – sad to say – is how far I’ve gotten with my weekly editorial.
Some things will never change.
I’ll never forget our previous editor’s comments when I first told him I was spending two to three hours writing that weekly column in the early days.
“What? Two to three hours? Back in my day you wrote a column in ten or twenty minutes. What are you doing, trying to pen the next great American novel?”
Needless to say, it wasn’t until the last year or so of my reporting days that I began to fully understand. Between the court beat, the Police Blotter to assemble first thing in the morning, ‘30 Seconds’ and whatever hard news story I might be working on at any given point in time, I typically found myself staring at a blank computer screen at approximately 7:30 or 7:45 a.m. on Wednesday mornings, wondering what exactly I was going to come up with on such short notice.
And yet I never missed that particular deadline; I have no idea how I managed that one.
As I said, some things will never change. And here in the newsroom, one thing remains constant ... the almighty deadline reigns supreme. None of us, whether you’re an editor, reporter, advertising rep, photographer, intern ... we all face that same deadline while preparing each day’s edition of The Evening Sun.
To be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way. And while deadline may not be the scary beast today that it was back in the day, it still keeps us on our toes around here.
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