Thanksgiving in the newsroom

Published 7:00 am Saturday, November 21, 2015

Prior to ever becoming a journalist, I marveled at the regularity my hometown paper, The Corpus Christi Caller Times, would arrive at our doorstep.


Rain or shine, Christmas or Thanksgiving, summer, through winter through autumn and spring. The news does not take days off, of course, but I marveled at the idea that men and women would work through the year and through the night to bring it to me with such consistency.

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Now, on the other side of the news as it were, I am still somewhat amazed we are able to deliver so regular a product despite holidays and all the rest. Most of the secret is good planning. It turns out, most news consumers expect a certain type of news story around the holiday—stories of food, family and maybe a few stories about charity. These stories are easy enough to write beforehand and there are more than enough subjects. Growing up, the Caller-Times had a weekly series of stories in the weeks leading up to Christmas about disadvantaged families.

Each week we got a different profile about some family that was made homeless by a fire or struck penniless due to cancer. At some point I realized I could just not read the stories.

I don’t know what came first, the news media’s generic holiday story cycle or the news consumer’s expectation of generic holiday news stories, but it’s a win for both sides.

That said, even during holidays, there’s usually someone at the office.

Holidays are especially tricky because journalists are people, too, and we would also like to take off and cut loose. But, it’s when everyone’s cutting loose that news is most liable to happen. Why, just last Labor Day, someone tried to drive into Hide-a-Way Lake via the guard shack. So, even during holidays, we’ll have a light on. Just in case.