Friday, December 21, 2012

If this really is the end of the world...

...It's been fun. See you on the other side. (Well, most of you anyway. The elevator down could get quite crowded with management.)

And if not, see you Monday.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Beancounter's Night Before Christmas

(In light of the impending apocalypse, we are publishing the annual Christmas Eve bedtime story a bit early this year.)

'Twas the night before Christmas
and all through the station,
the beancounter's heart
was filled with elation.

The balance sheet showed
she'd picked up the slack.
The red ink was gone,
now all was jet black.

The GM dropped by,
his face was just glowing,
since fewer employees
were coming than going.

He saw the beancounter's
demeanor was sunny.
But Christmas was coming,
could she save more money?

She said, "Don't you worry,
if staffers are mocking,
'cause I've got some coal
for each Christmas stocking."

"The bonus is history,
forget Christmas parties,
they all get a coupon
for a free Coke at Hardees."

"And thanks to the trend
of all one-man-band,
we've got half the staff now,
and more cash on hand."

"And look at the money
I've saved on the gear!
Our news looks like crap,
but we still do make air."

"The news cars are ancient,
as everyone knows,
but I've given each staffer
a new siphon hose!"

"The cameras are garbage,
they're all out of focus,
I've promised them new ones,
with some hocus pocus."

"The computers still work
though they're all out of date.
We can last five more years
till we need Windows Eight."

"You've done a great job,"
said the GM with pride,
"Now what about me?
How much can you hide?"

The beancounter gave him
a really big check.
She said, "Corporate won't know
the whole station's a wreck."

The GM said, "Thanks,
no one has to know.
Now pack up your beans,
I'd say you can go."

The beancounter put
all her ledgers to bed,
while visions of cutbacks
danced in her head.

She walked through the newsroom
bidding all a good night,
"Merry Christmas to all,
and please turn out the light!"


Monday, December 17, 2012

Countdown to the Mayan apocalypse: this week's to-do list

Just for the hell of it, let's assume for a moment the Mayans are right and that the world will come to some sort of screeching halt on Friday. Now if we were absolutely sure of this we'd all quit our jobs and spend our last hours with the people we love the most. (Though a few managers I know would not, since the concept of love and human kindness eludes them.)

But the rules of this little game we're going to play this week do not allow you to hang it up and wait for grim reaper. No, you have to stay at your post, doing packages and live shots until the clock strikes twelve. I can see the teases now. "Fireball on the way! After the game!"

So seriously, what would you do if you only had one week left? If you knew that on Friday you're going to come face to face with the great News Director in the sky?

You know damn well what you'd do. You'd be on your best behavior, like a five year old trying to make Santa's nice list by not being naughty. You'd do your best to impress the man upstairs, pulling out all the stops to avoid a trip on the elevator that's headed down.

So this week, just assume we're all checking out on Friday. And try the following:

-Find at least one story that makes the world a better place. It's Christmas, so that shouldn't be too hard. Maybe you'll even find more than one.

-Do a random act of kindness for someone in your station who needs it.

-Put the knives away in the newsroom. No jealousy, no snide comments, no gossip.

-Ditch the bias. Be an actual journalist.

-Help someone in your station. An intern, a rookie reporter, whoever.

-Do every story as if it were your last. Doesn't matter if it's a chicken salad package; put your best effort into it. Knock out a great standup, use tons of nat sound, and write like there's no tomorrow. Literally.

-Praise someone in your newsroom, and do it in front of the staff. A photog who shot some great video, another reporter who did a great story.

We'll all probably wake up on Saturday and the world will still be here. But it might not. Why take the chance? If we're all gonna check out, why not do it on top?

And if we're still here next week, your apocalyptic to-do list might have changed you for the better.... in fact, it might become your permanent to-do list.