From the Newsroom Alarming challenge for sports news teams

first_imgCraig Brown is The Columbian’s editor. His column will appear in this space periodically. Contact him at 360-735-4514 or [email protected] Have you noticed that whatever goes wrong will go wrong at the worst possible moment? That’s what happened to us a week ago Friday when, at 10:10 p.m., The Columbian’s fire alarm sounded.A fire alarm is never a good thing, but this was a great moment in awful timing. That Friday was probably our biggest news day in months. We were wrapping up the cover pages with stories and photos about teachers strikes, memorials for John McCain and Aretha Franklin, and, most urgently, the first night of high school football.“If you could have picked the worst time of a football Friday for that to happen, this was it,” Sports Editor Micah Rice said later. The 7 p.m. games were in the fourth quarter or just concluded, and our reporters and photographers were in the process of writing five game stories and eight game summaries, and preparing five game photos for print. The desk editors were busy assembling the pages, including the late baseball and college football scores. And the entire team — five people — was updating our prep sports webpage and editing and uploading five game videos to our YouTube channel.To make it even worse, when the alarm sounded, there was a smoky odor in the newsroom. I was pleased that everyone actually left the building, though there was some temptation to ignore the hullaballoo and keep working. Assistant Sports Editor Tim Martinez grabbed a notebook computer on the way out the door and finished writing his story from his car.Probably half of the Vancouver Fire Department arrived within minutes, but it took a painfully long time to search every nook and cranny of our large, oddly designed building and determine there was no fire. (They never did identify the source of the odor.)last_img

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