I have a bad feeling about this
To allude to another sci-fi cliche, we all know the “Danger, Will Robinson, danger!” signs. The “check engine” light on the dashboard goes on, the robo-call from the credit card company, the spouse who says, “We need to have a talk.” (The last meaning “you need to have a listen.”) The newsroom also abounds in warnings, for those who know how to interpret them.
The Synod of Editors
You look up from your desk, and there, across the room, three or four editors are standing over some poor sweating schlimazel at a keyboard, all talking at the same time and pointing. You know at once that (a) this thing is going to be late, and (b) it’s going to carry more fossil traces of earlier versions than there are trilobites in the Burgess Shale.
The Irresistible Force and the Immovable Object
The writer submits an article, prefacing it with an announcement that it is so tightly knit that it simply cannot be cut. You examine the text and quickly determine that (a) it is laden with background, padding, and paragraphs copied and pasted from previously published articles, (b) it will take perhaps fifteen minutes to cut it to the budgeted length, which is all there is room for in the print edition, and (c) you will not be able to get to it without thirty minutes of wrangling with the writer.
The Speed of News
The wire service editor promises you that absolutely, certainly, without a doubt, you will get the updated story no later than 8:30.
You will still be waiting for it at 9:15, as you follow developing events on television, Facebook, and Twitter.
The Digital Age
Many improvements are promised in the upgrade of the computer software. You will (a) get twenty minutes of curbside training on the baffling new formats, (b) your machine will freeze on edition deadline, or start copying text from unrelated stories, or refuse to output, and (c) no one in IT answers the phone.
Your supervisor stops by your work station and says, “Could you come to my office, please.”