Yesterday was not a day to be in a newsroom. Around 2:00, which is already starting to be crunch time in the news business, “breaking news” began. You probably see those words all the time now. CNN and FOX constantly call things breaking at the bottom of your TV screens. But, in the local news world, “breaking stories” mean, news that happens at the most inopportune time that we MUST cover.
Example: Around 2:00, dayside reporters like myself are probably back in the office and writing their 5:00 and 6:00 stories. Nightside reporters, or “nightsiders” as we call them, get in around 2:30. That period of time inbetween is limbo.
Yesterday, I was covering the vandalism of two statues on Monument Avenue. It was a story I knew the other stations didn’t have and once I found out they did, I was able to break it. As I was breaking it though, we found out 2 Richmond city teachers were disciplined in a standardized testing scandal. And, while we were deciding what to do with that bit of info, I got a call that a story I’d been working on was about to break as well…. (9 city workers arrested in an over-time scandal) Soon after we learned a Chesterfield County student was arrested for making an explosive. Geez. Everything happened in a span of 5 minutes! It all got covered (and well I might add) but that gives you a little sense of an “atypical” reporting day. (And what a local news reporter means by “breaking” news)