Monday, March 2, 2015

Respect the deadlines

One of the fun things about living in Florida is that you get to make short drives to places that other folks have to save up and fly to. You know, the Kennedy Space Center, the Disney Parks, Busch Gardens, Legoland and the Universal Studios properties.

They really know how to handle folks at these theme parks, especially given the fact that for the majority of the year, they have to figure out how to get park visitors out of the sweltering heat to ensure just a little bit of relief. At a ride like the Spiderman ride at Universal, that takes the form of herding folks into a replica of the Daily Bugle newsroom.

You know the story of the Amazing Spiderman, right? If you don't check it out here. We'll be waiting for you until you get back.

Got it? OK. So, since Peter Parker is a photojournalist, the ride designers created a replica of the newsroom. Everything is there, including fake sack lunches, computers, phones and other important items.
Plus, there is one very important sign that's easy for most people to overlook. It's in red in the photo just above these words. It reads:
The deadline for the Daily Bugle is midnight. At that point, either turn in your complete, edited story or your letter of resignation.
Serious business, the news. If you believe for just one minute that the sign is a creation of a wild-minded cartoonist, think again. Reporters work under incredibly tight deadlines which they have to meet - or else. For instance, my wife worked as a news producer for a local TV station The universal rule was that if they 'teased' the story (Tonight at 11...), something monumental had better have happened if the story wasn't going to appear. A major air accident. Political assassination. Fiery meteorite crashing to earth. Something like that.

Now, think about your deadlines. Say you have a report to give your boss, but you know the day it was originally expected to go to her, more crucial information was coming out to make that report more complete. Do you think your boss would consider giving you another day to incorporate the information? Probably.

But, not in the news. So, when a reporter does get pushy, calling several times asking similar questions, keep your calm. Understand what time pressures they are working under, and do your best to meet their deadlines. Always start off a request from a reporter by asking what their deadline is, and make note of it. If you can't get the information they need, be sure to call them BEFORE the deadline time arrives.

It might even buy you a little extra time to find the answers you need, and make you look like a superhero.

Tom Iovino, Public Information Specialist
Pinellas County, Florida

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