Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Charles Owens

May 14, 2014

Forgive us if we appear a bit grumpy this morning, but some caffeine will help

— — Last night’s primary contest made for a long night for many of us in the newsroom. But the good news is that another election season is over, at least for now. But look for things to start heating up on the campaign trail again later this summer, and particularly into the fall as a lot is at stake this November.

But for now, we can breathe a sigh of relief. It’s a chance to enjoy the beauty of late spring and early summer. An opportunity to think about summer travel, summer movies, fairs and festivals and otherwise the hot and lazy days of summer without political candidates knocking on the door or calling us on the phone. And all of those attack advertisements we’ve seen on television will stop — at least for a couple of weeks.

I, for one, am glad that we simply made it through another election. And yes it was a long night in the newsroom yesterday. That’s why those of us in the news business might appear a little grumpy today. We were all up late last night, and we didn’t get a lot of sleep. We could all use a little bit of extra caffeine this morning. With hope, someone will already be brewing a fresh pot of coffee in the newsroom.

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Even when you get home after a big election night, it is often a little hard to wind down and fall asleep. In many instances, we are normally tempted to get on the Internet and continue monitoring election coverage returns. Admittedly, things were a little low key this time. There was no presidential primary, and the control of Congress won’t be up for grabs until this November. That’s why we can expect to see plenty more mudslinging and attack ads this summer and fall.

But at the moment, I’ll just assume it’s all over — that life will slowly return to normal today. No more fighting. No more finger pointing. No more stories about how candidate A or candidate B will ruin America, West Virginia or Virginia if elected or re-elected. Just a chance to sit back, breath a bit easier and relax. The Mountain Festival is now only a week away. I can already see all of those carnival rides at city park in Bluefield. Summer is truly nice.

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Those of us in the newspaper business are used to unusual schedules. The journalism business isn’t a 9-to-5 job — not even close. In fact, I think the last time I worked a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule was probably my first day on the job. However, election night takes unusual scheduling a step further. It’s a work day that doesn’t normally start until 3 p.m. or later, and usually isn’t over until 1 a.m. or later. The day begins with a rush of excitement followed by a period of a prolonged calm until polls are closed and results start coming in. When the numbers finally start rolling in, the mood suddenly becomes very serious as we work to fill in the blanks, project winners and meet the ever-approaching deadline. As long as I’ve been here — which has been quite a long time now — we have never missed an election night deadline.

It is without question the longest night of the year for those of us in the newspaper, as well as the broadcast media, business. And it continues to evolve. In year’s past it was simply a long wait and rush to get final election results to have in the morning newspaper. Nowadays it is a rush to not only get the most up-to-date numbers for the newspaper, but also for our website, which is updated throughout the evening on election night. We also tweet, blast and post election results as they come in on Facebook. So much has changed in such a short period of time. It really is a brave new world in the newspaper business. But it is truly for the best. As we are maximizing all ways to reach and serve our loyal readers. And ultimately that is what it is all about — getting the news quickly, accurately and in great detail to our readers.

Charles Owens is the Daily Telegraph’s assistant managing editor. Contact him at cowens@bdtonline.com. Follow him @BDTOwens.

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