Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Journalists have a thing for drama

It's funny how the things I love about journalism are also the things that drive us crazy if they happen all in one night. I have always been intrigued by journalists' pessimism. We get excited over car wrecks, shootings, house explosions, you name it. We do this because we then get a chance to be the first people to tell you (the general public) things. It's also a race with the different media organizations to see who will have the first story about something. Last night was no exception.

I was designing 1A for the paper, and the centerpiece story was about the high number of jellyfish stings on Tybee Island. Now, if you know anything about me, you know that I have a ridiculous fear of jellyfish. I can deal, but they make me all squirmy. So I was dealing with the jellyfish when, all of a sudden, two people died in a car wreck on I-516. The three-photo, 20-inch package on the front page was bumped (Buh-bye jellyfish!), and the one-photo, 6-inch story was to replace it. This happened at 10:15 p.m. Our deadline for pages is 11:30 p.m. I had a little over an hour to re-arrange the front and its two subsequent jump pages, which both needed more stories because the text was heavily shifted.

It was an exhilarating and stressful experience at the same time. I had help from the two other people on the desk, and we ended up sending the last page at 11:31 p.m. INCREDIBLE.

The conclusion? Journalists have a thing for drama, but you already knew that about me, didn't you?

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