Recording the news, becoming part of history

I’ve struggled with what to write today. I’m on my first day back from a weekend in Key West and I’m busy, busy catching up with work and I couldn’t wait to blog about my recent trips.

But we don’t always get to choose when news is going to happen. It doesn’t matter if I don’t have time to blog. It doesn’t matter that last night, I was relaxing, catching the end of “America’s Next Great Restaurant” on my DVR and planning to go to bed early. Because around 10:30, my phone started blowing up from Twitter.

Obama was going to tell us that they’d killed Osama Bin Laden, my Twitter friends were saying. I quickly got off the DVR and turned it to live TV, and I was amazed once again at how valuable Twitter is during times like this.

Of course, the former newspaper designer/editor in me immediately wanted to be in the newsroom, tearing up my front page and starting over. This is when life was especially exciting in that world of deadlines and news alerts and “how fast can I change what I’ve been doing all night and make it look good and make it dramatic and make it impactful.” I don’t always miss the newspaper business. But for the rest of my life,  I will miss doing my little part to record history.

My perspective was different last night. Twitter reminded me of the news alerts that used to come across the wire at the newspaper. Social newspaper has really changed the way we get the news. Not only do we know what’s going on at every moment, but we already know what our friends think of it – before the press conference even interrupted “The Apprentice” (yes, it was super funny that that happened), I was already hearing cheers about Bin Laden’s death, and critics of the cheers about his death.  I was reading criticism of how can Obama take credit for this – when Obama had not even said a word. Tear up the Op-Ed page and throw it in the recycle bin – we already know the world’s opinion, and the news hasn’t even been announced yet. Jeff was reading Twitter, too, and he was repeating to me the humorous tweets – I can’t even pick a favorite, but I know this one by Will cracked me up:  “Looking for the phone number of that girl who said she’d go out with me when we caught Bin Laden.”

And then, there it was. Obama put it so well. And then it was personal – I got a text from Anil that simply said, “I just got chills.” I was at the newspaper on Sept.11, 2001, but he was in New York City. And he lost friends in the attacks.

The news was so dynamic. So bittersweet. A cause for celebration, yet, tears. History made. Justice served.

My time at the newspaper may be over, but the impact it had on me never will be. I write this during a time that former colleagues are plotting a reunion of those of us who worked at The Herald, and I was asked to blog about my time there. There’s no way to put years of memories and experiences and impacts into one post, and I have been thinking for days about how to put my history there into words.

And then news happened, as it always does, and this story was big. The Herald newsroom was moldy, dirty, fluorescent-lit. But it was our newsroom. And there will always be a part of me that will wish I was there when it’s time to rip up that front page and record some history.