Gazette Has Had Its Ons And Offs Over Last Five Years
Five years have gone by since I last reflected on how I came to the Gazette. In the years between 2002 and now, 2007, the paper has grown, the coverage base has expanded and some new people have become welcome additions to the staff. Where we would be without our conscientious and thorough proofreader, Norma Grossman, I do not care to think. Our stalwart typesetters Susan Cleary and Susan Meyer have been with us since the late 1990s and do a fine job under pressure and sometimes under difficult circumstances.
Some things do not change. John Toscano still follows some time-honored traditions in the ways he writes and files his copy that add an interesting dimension to our increasingly electronic newsroom procedures. Richard Gentilviso writes his stories on a computer but hands them in physically and thoroughly briefs us on the "story behind the story" in person. Thomas Cogan involves himself in the lives and happenings of the people and organizations he covers far beyond the call of duty. Several interns have earned college credit, learned a few things from us and taught us some things as well.
The biggest stories we covered in the last five years also gave us our biggest headaches; both had to do with electricity- or rather, its sudden and total absence. Late in the afternoon of Aug. 14, 2003 we were congratulating ourselves on finishing some things ahead of time and looking forward to going home in a few hours. Those "few hours" turned out to be a few minutes when a circuit breaker alarm shrieked and the power suddenly went off. Traffic lights were out as well, so we knew the problem wasn't confined to our offices. It turned out that the outage had spread to include 17 states and several Canadian provinces. That night, several of us played Solitaire with real cards for the first time in a number of years. Fortunately, the power was back on by morning and, more important, we hadn't lost anything we were working on. We sighed with relief and went back to work.
We didn't realize that we had dodged a bullet. Three years later, we weren't as lucky.
At first, the power outage in Northwest Queens that began July 17 didn't really affect us. At home, some of us were experiencing "brownouts", but the power stayed on at our office until Wednesday, July 26. Those of us who came to work a little later than 9 a.m., when the office opened that day, were treated to the sight of the advertising staff doing their work on the sidewalk- not only were there no lights, there was no air conditioning--for three of the hottest days of the summer of 2006. We moved back indoors a few hours later, but we were almost completely without electricity for the rest of the day. The power came back on a little at a time over the next few days, but we're still licking our wounds- and working on a contingency plan, bearing in mind that pessimists have only pleasant surprises, optimists only unpleasant ones.
All things considered, we've made more progress than we have experienced setbacks over the past five years. The Gazette continues to grow and change and every day is a new adventure. We can't imagine being anywhere else.