Newsroom horror stories

Grin and bear this

December 11, 2003
By tom

The Romenesko letters page has scads of dumb assignments that reporters have suffered through over the years. I have one to add: This story unfolds at a certain Downstate Illinois daily whose coverage area includes a wildlife park in the nearby countryside. Signs pointing the way to the park included large bears standing up...

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A quake at the Post

December 10, 2003
By tom

Jen describes what happens when she’s the only one in the newsroom at the Washington Post who felt the tiny excuse for a earthquake that rattled the Beltway yesterday. Funny thing was, no one felt it but me. I was in prime earthquake-sensing position at my desk, sitting fairly still, just typing, one leg...

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Jarvis on Jonestown

November 18, 2003
By tom

It’s the 25th anniversary of the Rev. Jim Jones massacre; Jeff Jarvis recalls his days as a San Francisco Chronicle reporter. I sometimes feel as if I’ve lived at the edges of too much tragedy, a cursed Zelig: near Jonestown, near Moscone-Milk, near AIDS, and then near the World Trade Center. It’s enough to...

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Rip at the Chronicle

November 13, 2003
By tom

Veteran L.A. newsman Rip Rense describes his visit to the San Francisco Chronicle, which, let’s be clear, is probably weirder than most newspapers because it’s in San Francisco. Speaking of dark rooms, there were no more darkrooms. Right—no soup, no photographic paper, no clothespins on wires, no red lights, no chemical odors, no percussion...

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More newsroom horror stories

October 15, 2003
By tom

I asked folks to submit their newsroom horror stories. Craig Lancaster sent this gem along. Hi, Tom: My story is rooted in the folly of youthful angst. I was 22 and working at the Texarkana Gazette, and I was having a devil of time finding out the topic of the outdoors writer’s column. I...

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