27 FEB 03: IT HAPPENED ONE OVERNIGHT
Since Columbus isn't that big a city, the newsroom phones aren't bombarded with calls at all hours of the night. But even
a few calls can make the night memorable - especially when one man refers to himself as "the crazy man on the corner."
I'll get to that man - but let's take the events of the last overnight shift in order:
+ 10:30 p.m.: I arrive at the newsroom, and try to contact someone with the Auburn Peace Project to respond to President
Bush's "vision" speech on Iraq. The calls bring no response - so perhaps members needed to sleep, after spending all day bombarding Congress with phone calls.
+ 11:02 p.m.: "Cory" calls, asking for the evening reporter - a woman who's out on a story. He never leaves a message
with me, because I'm simply not sexy enough for his pick-up lines.
+ 11:15 p.m.: During the 11:00 p.m. news, a concerned caller says she thought the Female Anchor said "2000" in a news
story - when she should have said "2004." A check of the script showed this wording: "March of next year." The thing is, this anchor isn't even a women's libber - much less a women's ad libber.
I tell the caller I can't review the tape of the newscast until it's over at 11:35 - and she says it's really not an important
issue. So why do these people call TV stations late at night? Are they THAT lonely?
+ 11:45 p.m.: The woman calls back to hear the aircheck of the newscast - and it turns out our Female Anchor DID say 2004. The caller hadn't heard the "four" before. Hopefully she doesn't work at a fast-food restaurant.
+ 12:15 a.m.: A man calls asking for the regular morning producer - for about the ninth weeknight in a row. He never leaves a message, when I mention she's away. These bill collectors obviously don't want to give themselves away.
+ 4:30 a.m.: ABC mistakenly sends the wrong news feed to our station - revealing Fred Rogers of "Mister Rogers Neighborhood" has died. I decide to add an "obituary" package on his life to the morning newscast. To do this, I take out a report on Robert Blake. Though I felt sad at the time, after thinking about it I feel QUITE uplifted.
+ 5:25 a.m.: I break the news to our Morning Videographer that Mr. Rogers is dead. He asks, "Was he changing shoes
and had a stroke?"
+ 5:52 a.m.:That self-declared crazy man calls, and starts a rambling speech. It starts with a comment that "psy-ops will
not be enough to win this war." We have to go in physically and do the job, he says. Why this caller thinks I'm a commander at Fort Benning, I have no idea....
(OOPS! I'm out of time, and will have to finish this man's conversation the next time I post. Stay tuned....)