The news that the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the mandates, etc. of the Affordable Care Act has been the topic of nearly every conversation around here.
While we all have our opinion on whether or not we agree with the decision, we can all agree that we were anxious to learn the news.
The anticipation for the outcome today reminded me of another "major" story in news — the O.J. Simpson verdict.
I was at the Minden Press-Herald when we heard the decision might come in time for that day's newspaper, so we decided to "hold" the front page as long as possible.
We had two options ready to so, along with a photo of Simpson. It would be no minor feat to pull off the "breaking" news. So we waited.
The only television in the building was located in the conference room — and this day it would be "command central" for the news. We all sat around the table, glued to the set, while our editor had pen and paper ready to jot down notes as he heard them. (Sorry, no laptops or iPads back then).
As the jury entered the courtroom, we looked at the clock — still enough time for that day's paper. As the verdict of "Not guilty" was read, everyone in the building spring into action. There wasn't even a moment for gasps or cheers from those on either side of the issue — we had work to do.
We "stripped in" the story the editor wrote at blazing speed, shot the page and burned the plate. The press was running literally less than an hour from the verdict. We did it!
Fast forward to June 27, 2012...
Again, we had an opportunity for breaking news. This time, however, we would break the story online — much like everyone else.
At the Bossier Press-Tribune, we focus on local news for the most part, but this story was big enough to warrant special attention.
We weren't glued to a television set this time. Each team member was at his or her respective desk, engaged to social media and any other real-time source online.
We even snickered when some outlets accidentally posted "test" information.
Then came the verdict. AP tweeted the Court had upheld the individual mandate, and we were off. We retweeted official sources, wrote a story of our own, posted it online and added various updates on Facebook.
While the methods may have changed, the excitement we felt today was the same as during the O.J. verdict.
One thing I have learned is that news is still important, both to the reader and the news gathering organization. While the form may change over time, the need for news will always be there.
And, that's a good thing.
May the Blog Be With You.