Friday, January 30, 2009


Today was my last day of manning the newsdesk. Early Morning News Ed is coming back from leave on Monday when I will be sent back to the trenches, stripped of the powers that have so temporarily been bestowed on me (until next time of course).
The morning started well. I had energy and enthusiasm, and things were not quiet on the news front. It has been raining heavily for three solid days all over Jozi. This is not London, so this much rain is BIG news. Like yesterday when a guy and his six-year-old daughter got washed off a bridge in his brute 4x4. Today would obviously bring great things.
I surveyed my early morning team of reporters. Diva was the sole person on duty at 6am. Not a problem! "We need a great weather story", I told her, so she jumped on the phone and did all the checks.
And then the story emerged. A giant pothole had opened up in Empire Road and, after yesterday's downpour, was disguised beneath a huge puddle. Unsuspecting motorists from all over were driving their cars slap bang into the hole and bursting their tyres.
So there we had it - front page lead option. The pothole that took out 20 cars! Sorted.
Next problem was the photograph. Now you would think that a photographer standing on the side of the road, large camera aimed at a dodgy looking puddle would serve as a deterrant. Apparently not! While Photographer was busy shooting the pothole picture a driver obligingly drove into it, supplying the paper with a spectacular front page picture of yet another tyre barreling into the depths, dramatic splashes and all. Fantastic.
Lunch time edition down, time to sort out the diary for Monday's paper. It was less difficult than I expected and a pretty decent plan was formulated for the first of next week's newspapers.
Diva returned to court to cover the ongoing trial of the tea-drinking judge. Someone was assigned to investigate an alleged e-mail that looked so much like an urban legend that it will be great if it is not. Boy Wonder, a reporter back from a day off sick, came to inform me of his latest story speaking in his usual vague manner - like the the information needs clearance from the FBI before it can be discussed - said he was heading off to Pretoria to check out a feature story possiblity on a seminary! Okay.
So - diary finally done, conference over and time to end off the day.
On Monday I will be back at the office, at my own desk, ready to get out there and do the journo stuff I love most! Yay!

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