Abundance

Finally, my garden is settling down, but now I'm facing an abundance of a different sort.

When I got started in this business, about two decades ago, July and August were "slow" months in the newsroom. It was hard to get any officials on the phone, election campaigns were still in startup mode, and people were thinking more about vacation than important issues of the day.

Reporters typically welcomed these two months. It gave us a chance to pursue some stories we had on the back burner - stories that took investigation, or lots of sound or video, or a little bit of travel to find just the right person to interview. It was a time to think about the big picture, and the best ways to bring it home to our audience. It was a much needed change in pace from breaking news and pressing deadlines.

But yesterday, we found ourselves in full court press.

Never mind that it was a Monday in August. The New York State Education Department was churning out graduation rate statistics. Then the Governor surprised us with a billion dollar list of potential budget cuts, and our reporters jumped to get reaction. Our capitol bureau correspondent Karen DeWitt reported for duty, even though it was a scheduled day off for her. Shortly before 4:30 p.m., the Mayor announced a press conference, and Bud Lowell packed up his recorder and ran. In the midst of all this, we were rushing to finish production of Need to Know: Response to Murder (a special, live, call-in edition airing next Thursday, August 21 at 9 pm on WXXI-TV).

Feast has replaced famine, but sometimes I still get a craving for the "old days."

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