PATSY R. BRUMFIELD: News world excitement like theater

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

No doubt, most of you notice it’s been an exciting few weeks in Journalism Land.
Frankly, I think it’s almost always exciting, chiefly because most of us come to work each day not really knowing exactly what’s going to happen.
Oh, sure, I have a notion of what I’ve got planned – a court term and a trial is under way, or I’ve got interviews for this or that.
But then, suddenly, something else happens and we’re tossed up into the air to go after whatever has occurred.
That’s every day, even on weekends when some of us think we aren’t working. We realize we may be called back to duty, if the need arises.
This “unknown” even trickles over to support staff, like our graphic talent on the copy desk, where our pages are put together electronically.
I remember some years ago, when I worked at the newspaper in McComb. This was way back in the early computer days. A reasonably intelligent woman spent the entire week “trying out” for a front–office job answering the phone, routing calls, helping customers and proofreading stories and ads for the coming papers.
When 5 p.m. Friday came, we all wished each other a happy weekend and told the woman we’d see her on Monday.
“Are you kidding?” she exclaimed. “I can’t stand working in a place where they never get through.”
True, we never get through in Journalism Land unless St. Peter calls, and they probably have some organized news system among those who’ve passed on.
For some folks, it surely would be Heaven. For others, well, you know, Hell. But truly, this seemingly endless parade of life’s moments is fascinating for those of us privileged to get paid to observe and record it for posterity.
I’ve always felt like having a byline was a form of immortality. Days, even years later, someone will come along and see that you existed and read what you’d written. We’re not exactly social scientists around here, but we do make a study of human behavior. Sometimes it’s excellent, and other times, well, it’s abysmal.
My engineer daughter calls it “The Theater of the Living.”
A young journalism student dropped by my house the other afternoon on her way to a local TV internship, and we had a short but charming conversation about our work world.
Dear young woman, I said to her, it’s thrilling to think you have your whole life and journalism career ahead of you, and that it’s likely to play out across the decades in ways we’ve never even dreamed about.
She agreed and smiled so broadly as she thought fleetingly about the experiences and surprises that lie ahead for her.
It’s often my pleasure to talk about this profession to even younger students than she, and I love to tell them what intrigues and incredible personalities await anyone who decides to climb on board. For the curious, it is the best of worlds. For folks who prefer a quiet life, avoiding speed bumps and craziness, it’s not for you.
And, like that try–out woman in McComb so long ago, it’s a world that never, ever gets through. It just keeps on and on, so long as we don’t blow up this Big Blue Marble. Thanks to all you readers who let us know what you think about our work – good or not so much. Goodness knows, each of us stumbles probably more often than we’d like to admit. Just keep readin’.
PATSY R. BRUMFIELD writes a Thursday column. Contact her at (662) 678–1596 or patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com.