This week’s issue of DM News took a little longer to finish than most, thanks to last week’s blackout. We normally close the front page and a couple other pages around noon the Friday before the publication date. During a typical week, today’s newspaper would have been printed Friday afternoon and put into the mailstream early Saturday morning so copies start to arrive in people’s offices and homes early this week. However, when you don’t have electricity, it doesn’t work that way.
As the power went out Thursday afternoon, someone in the newsroom emerged with a battery-operated radio (the batteries still worked!), and we learned that the problem was not just in our building, which is in the SoHo part of downtown Manhattan, but across much of the Northeastern United States. We quickly devised an elaborate contingency plan: If we get power back overnight, everyone should come back to work and we’ll finish the last few pages. Cell phone use was spotty because of overuse, so it was lucky that I remembered to take along an office phone since my home phones all need electricity to work. At my apartment two miles north of the office, I sweated through the night only to discover the next morning that along with no electricity, I was out of water, too, because my building’s water tower was empty and needed power to pump water back up. Duh.
By noon Friday, power still hadn’t been restored to lower Manhattan, so we decided to delay printing this week’s newspaper until Monday. Reporters who live in areas where power had returned couldn’t access our e-mail and Web site from outside, either. Amazingly, the blackout seemed to cause us more problems than 9/11 did, as editors and writers talked their way through police barricades nearly two years ago to get to DM News’ office and finish the next week’s issue on time.
You may have noticed Melissa Campanelli’s byline missing from DM News the past few weeks. That’s because she and former DRTV News editor Rob Williams are the new parents of a baby girl, Caroline Brooke Williams, born Aug. 8. Until Melissa returns, contact Scott Hovanyetz at [email protected] for postal-related matters or me at [email protected] for database/CRM issues. We wish Caroline and her proud mom and dad all the best.