January 25, 2014 by Caroline Leland
I don’t have class on Wednesdays, and this week I spent the day eating steadily in my apartment while I worked on a DTH story, my Valencia blog post and Spanish homework. I ran a few errands — but not enough to fight off a suffocating feeling of stir-craziness that tells me I need to figure out a more active way to spend my Wednesdays.
Thursday I had class until 2 p.m. After a quick run I met up with my friend Emily to find a cute cafe to hang out in Old Town. Brooke found us there and then we walked back with our friend Massi, who had been in that part of town for tutoring. He casually displayed his native Italian cooking skills with a delectable pasta dish we ate at my apartment. Just as we were about to head out to meet other friends at a bar (it’s about half past midnight at this point) I got a text from my DTH editor, Amanda:
“Hey are you awake?”
I indulged myself in a long, drawn-out groan of a curse word.
“What?” Massi asked, concerned.
I showed him the text.
“What this means is the frontpack, which is what we call the most important story in the paper, has fallen through for tomorrow and they want to use my story instead,” I explained, resisting the urge to bang my head — or the phone — against the table. My story was far from ready. I needed more sources and I had just been talking to Massi about reworking the angle.
I quickly got online and saw that the newspaper’s editor-in-chief and director of enterprise were both active on the Google doc I had shared with Amanda when I sent her my rough (very rough) first draft of the story.
This kind of newsroom drama is standard for The Daily Tar Heel, but like nearly everyone who works there, I’ve sold my soul and can’t even really get mad about it. You just do what you can to help make the paper as strong as it can be, every day. Skipping over to the other side of the Atlantic doesn’t free me from this obsession — and obligation.
So I sat for another hour and a half in my kitchen, trying to make my story adequate while the edit staff in that familiar office 4,019.593 miles away (or 6,468.908 km, if you’re into that kind of thing) scrambled for an alternative story to occupy that most prominent position on the front page of the next day’s paper. Finally I got an email from the director of enterprise at 2:38 a.m.
“we’re going to hold your story for Monday’s paper”
Thanking the news gods that our City Desk editor always seems prepared with awesome back-up feature stories, I went to bed more relieved that I was getting a couple more days to improve my story, than upset that I had missed a night out on the town. Dat DTH lyfe yo