Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Boys of Summer

Imagine this. You have to cover news 24/7, but you only have three people. The same three people. Who are only supposed to work eight-hour shifts.

This is the situation I'm faced with every day. We could go around the clock, with only one person working each 8-hour shift, but there's no point in staffing overnight because there's only about 80 people looking at the site overnight. The numbers also decrease drastically after 8 p.m. and they peak around noontime. So we staff during the high-traffic times.

Except, of course, when the Red Sox are playing. And they're in the playoffs. And then they're going to the World Series. We've been working around-the-clock schedules, switching hours, for the past three weeks, as the Sox worked their way past the Angels and then the Indians ... always going the full seven games.

Now, of course, it's the World Series and there are seven MORE games. I've had one day off in the past two weeks and will probably go in to work both days next weekend as well (which I've done the past two weekends).

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE the Red Sox, I really do. But it's insane trying to keep up with the TV news staff, which numbers over 100 people, with our three. We are burning the candles to nubs.

We livestream the news conferences, write and publish stories, and we post the locker room interview videos and we create slideshows, and really, people don't come to sites like ours for sports.

On the one hand, I always enjoy the work because (as someone in the newsroom said recently) it's not stories about dead babies. On the other hand, we all have lives and families and groceries to buy and laundry to do etc. and that doesn't get done when you're only coming home to sleep and eat and go back to work.

This is the state of the Internet at this moment in time -- do it all on a shoestring. It's only computers, right? But if they only knew the actual brainpower that's involved. Someday I hope we have enough people to do this job properly, but I'm not holding my breath.

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