Tuesday morning, 9.30am: Deadline day begins. I trot into our production office to look for a proof page of the bits and bobs that I’d compiled on the Waterford/Limerick hurling match the previous day.
Work on a Bank Holiday is, after all, a private sector indignity that most of us have to face at some time or another.
It’s always advisable to have a look back over one’s own work after it’s been laid out on a newspage as it’s almost inevitable that there’ll be a few grammatical gremlins that will require removal. Oddly, on this occasion, I’m not availing of my remedy-making red pen. At least that’s one page done and dusted.
10.15 am: “Could you leave down a few more pieces for the property section,” our production manager kindly asks.
The short week doesn’t seem to agree with some auctioneers when it comes to running ads, as there always tends to be a few more pieces which require assembly for this particular slot following Bank Holidays. Normal service will resume next week, methinks.
I duly oblige, with a trimmed-down version of the latest ESRI house price index, which indicates a further decline in house prices in April.
I consider writing a further story with a smart headline along the lines of ‘property price decline leaves property editors looking with something positive to write’.
But, for fear of a tongue-lashing from the Taoiseach about talking down the economy, I think the better of it. The tea-break is beckoning.
11am: The press releases are flying in. Some I’ll be able to get to, some may have to wait for another edition, while others are destined for my computer’s recycling bin.
I’m never short on reminders of the variety that this job of mine entails, which is one of its great strengths.
Here’s a brief sample: ‘Youghal beach fails to meet EU water quality standards’; ‘Sheep and goat report – Liam Aylward’; ‘South East Garden Show’; ‘Purging the sins of car emissions’.
There’s only so much space to play around with any given week and if stories don’t make it to print this week, the combination of a lack of time and space are the usual reasons.
With noon approaching, I’ve got no idea what this week’s column is going to be about. Something better come to mind quickly as this very busy day almost moves as quickly as Usain Bolt did on Saturday night in New York.
2pm: There are a good few stories which still need to be written. I delve into the archive when assembling an updated piece on the Carrick-on-Suir Motorclub’s Motorsport Festival, which takes place this Saturday and Sunday.
Keeping easily accessible records of previously compiled reports is a journalistic must-do, as one never knows when one might be calling on previously used information again.
It’s a piece of advice that applies in equal measure to anyone sitting exams this week, and I tell a Leaving Certificate student as much during a brief phone exchange.
It’s also useful when writing a recurring story which one must ensure is just as digestible to someone reading a piece this week with no previous knowledge on the topic.
4pm: While slowly but surely getting through some news copy, my mind is still a blank when it comes to a topic for this week’s column.
I call Waterford International Light Opera Festival Chair Sean Dower regarding a letter to the editor that’s been handed onto me dealing with the non-holding of the event this year.
I begin our conversation with a disclaimer that my head may have been in the sand when the announcement about the festival not being held in 2008 was made.
Sean has a justified giggle at my expense given that I honestly knew nothing about this, all the more embarrassing since (a) the announcement was made at last year’s festival and (b) the musical society circuit is one of several I frequent. All things going well, the WIFLO’s 50th edition will be held at the restored Theatre Royal next year. Best keep my ears open, then.
5pm: News via the airwaves that the IFA will be advising its members to vote ‘Yes’ to Lisbon is a tad surprising given the noises the Association had been making until today, but it’s something I’ll only get around to mentioning right here in this column.
A few minutes earlier, I was asked where my column was, as the assembly of our front section had begun. I’d only just got around to writing it, having finally thought of something potentially interesting and exclusively local to stick in it.
5.35pm: Hallelujah! After a day occupied by stories about old postcards, new bypasses, festivals of a motoring and musical nature and a lot more besides, I’m done. And so is this week’s column. Time to go home.