Less than 24 hours ago, the staff at The Sampson Independent enjoyed a wonderful morning. The birds were chirping; the sky was blue, and the sun was bright. And all was peaceful and serene in newspaper land thanks to one thing — the primaries are history.
Yes, even though I am no longer a staff member of Sampson County’s only daily publication, I can tell you in detail just what the morning after election feels like. It feels like you have been set free from a dragon whose hot breath has been pounding on your skin for months. It is a glorious time, the morning after an election, and those outside of the news world should take a moment and thank the reporters and staff there for seeing to it that each race was reported in a swift manner.
To give you an idea of just what it takes to get those most sought after election results and stories in the paper, I think I will reminisce on my time putting the pen to the pad in order to get race results to the people.
First of all, an election requires a great deal of planning for a reporter. In fact, as soon as a person contacts the newspaper to let them know they are running, the election process has started. With the first call, you have to drop what you are doing and cover the filing where you get the typical photo of the person signing papers with their family and well wishers in the background. Then, you usually would write a short profile about the candidate asking them basic questions like “Why are you running?” and “Why are you qualified for this office?” Then, you have to go back to work and put together this masterpiece that, hopefully, informs the public about the candidate.
I recall that one year I had the responsibility of leading the interviews for the school board, and low and behold, I believe there were at least 11 different people running. You can imagine my heartburn when it occurred to me that I also had to do question and answers for each and every candidate as well. In fact, I think just giving the interviews for the “Q and A’s” took me a good month to schedule and put together.
On the morning of the election, you have to make sure you can reach each candidate as soon as the results are in. Then, as election night arrives, the real fun begins. The goal is to get every result for each race before anyone else gets a hold of it. This requires a great deal of patience for any reporter since it calls for lots of waiting. Once you get the all-important results, you have got to move faster than the speed of light to get all the candidates’ comments and write a results story. In just a matter of a few minutes, the story has to be to the editor and placed on the internet for the world to see. At the end of the rushed, rowdy evening, we all breathe a sigh of relief and eat a cold slice of pizza to toast the fact that yet another primary or election is over.
While this may sound fun, it takes a toll on the average reporter since it requires so much diligent work. Therefore, I think it is only appropriate to thank those who worked their little fingers off to get us our election results so quickly. Yes, this is for you, Sherry, Doug, Chris and Billy. Thanks for the hard work, and hopefully, you can relax a moment. I, too, remember the birds chirping just a little louder the morning after the big race to the finish line.
(Editor’s note: Katie Holland can be reached by email at email@example.com.)