I’ve spent many weary mornings, just like this one, in hotels -- worn-out, broken-down, bleary-eyed. But the haggardness becomes a layer of armor, all because the newspaper got out.
I feel a certain solidarity with those who have to go to work, no matter the situation: soldiers and sailors, police, firefighters, nurses. Their callings are much higher than mine, but it steels me thinking that as they advance into whatever Mother Nature throws at them, I advance, even if it’s in their traces.
Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Irene, and various snowstorms before the Weather Channel got desperate enough to start naming them: I’ve worked through them all. And despite the loss of sleep and sanity, it was an honor to play my small part in all of them. This weekend’s blizzard was no exception.
I’ve been a newspaper editor now for six, going on seven years. Saying that it hasn’t been easy is an understatement. But the reward has been invaluable.
Pressure is the driving force behind journalism. To be effective in this line of work is to know and embrace pressure -- pressure of the deadline, pressure of the editor, pressure of angry sources and pressure of forces beyond your control, like Mother Nature. From my experience, pressure produces the best work.
The best stories are the ones crafted under pressure, without time to overthink. The best paper I’ve ever been a part of producing was created from absolute scratch in a hotel conference room with spotty internet service. The best teamwork I’ve ever seen in a news organization came when the lights were out, cell service was limited, and floodwater was rising.
Pressure and the outstanding work it produces have been the rewards of my six years as a newspaper editor. I love it, though it doesn’t love me back. I need it, though it would crush me without a second thought if I let it. I embrace it, and watch the outstanding teamwork it produces. You should embrace it, too.