I went in a little early one afternoon, and there was one person in the sports department. The prep (high school) writer came in during the afternoon, and he thought he was going home early. He didn't own a car, and getting an early ride was important to him.
On any given night, at least one person was supposed to be helping me. I think I was supposed to have two copy editors on this night. By five o'clock, it was obvious I wasn't going to have any help, and I told a protesting Jack that he had to stay to help. I got the managing editor to take my place in the budget meeting, and I had a page laid out by the time she got out of the meeting.
Every few minutes, Jack would say he had to go home; each time, I said no ... emphatically. It was baseball season, and we had three editions. I flailed through three editions and six or more mostly open pages, and Jack took 67 inches of state and area report by telephone. Jack, who was probably disgusted with me at this point, was gone right after first edition came out. I answered phones after he left, and I was late for two of the three editions.
The next day, no one asked me what had happened, and no one complained that I'd been late. If they had, I'd have raised hell. IT AIN'T SUPPOSED TO BE THAT WAY!
P.S.: Interestingly, the night editor at the local newspaper went through the same thing (although he wasn't laying out pages, as I was, and he didn't have as many phones to answer as we did). He found humor in it; I never have. It was the night from hell.
More SpeedEditor blog entries