March 12th, 2010
It was the most bizarre thing I have ever seen in a newsroom – and that’s saying something as I have visited literally hundreds of stations in over 150 markets during my two decades with AR&D. “It” was an ugly bobble-head doll that lives in a coffin-like box in a newsroom that will remain anonymous to protect the guilty.
Take a look for yourself – this strange idol apparently has the power to turn an extremely slow news day or two – into one that is teeming with local breaking news. All you have to do is take it out of the coffin – and Boom!
I saw this little monster in action recently. The assignment manager removed it from deep in a secret cabinet so I could get a look at it. He opened the coffin-container and began to take it out so I could get a close look – as the assistant news director warned him not to do it. I laughed at the strange looking doll – until the next morning. The assistant news director warned of a heavy dose of breaking news to come quickly our way – and she was right!
It started with a fatal house fire early in the morning. Then a few hours later they evacuated a large portion of the downtown business district as a worker cut through what he thought was an old water pipe. It turned out to be a very much alive natural gas pipe – that fortunately did not blow up. By noon – a half dozen big local stories had broken all over the market. I stopped laughing – it looks like there really is something to this scary “news god.”
I was talking to another station employee who told me that she had touched the “news god’s” head when she first met the idol. Once again – there were warnings – don’t ever do that – it brings snow! Sure enough, she says, four inches of snow hit the ground the next day. Shazam!
So, count me in as a believer in the “news god.” Here’s my question – do you have such a little monster in your newsroom to conjure up breaking news on slow news days – or are there some other superstitions that come into the picture with the same result? Let me know – and I’ll share them with all of you.