Friday, October 2, 2009

Definitely Not a Slow News Day

Today has been the kind of day that makes me wish I was back on a newspaper copy desk.

Several interesting things have been happening today. I spent many of my copy desk years in sports, so Friday nights always tended to be busy for us, whatever the season. By comparison, most of the time, Friday nights seemed to be rather tame on the news side.

I found out that wasn't always true when I was transferred to the news side.

It is a fact that there are "slow news days." But today wasn't one of them.
  • I guess the most important news of the day was something that news editors already knew was coming — the monthly jobs report. Unemployment continued to make its way to double digits, going up to 9.8%. For those who thought the recession was over, as Paul Krugman writes in the New York Times, "mission not accomplished."

    Michael McKee and Alex Tanzi report in that "[f]or the first time, the average amount of time it takes fired employees to find a new job exceeds the length of their standard unemployment benefits."

    And the loss of more than 250,000 jobs in September apparently contributed to another week of losses on Wall Street.

  • The jobs report comes out on the first Friday of each month so editors have a lot of time to prepare for it, just not a lot of time to digest the numbers.

    We don't know all of the revenue Chicago lost when it was rejected by the International Olympic Committee. But one of those who lobbied for the city in Copenhagen said it lost $70 million in fundraising for expenses.

    How much was lost from the additional tourism that would have been generated? I suppose that is anyone's guess.

    Losing isn't just measured in dollars. Given the fact that Barack Obama flew to Copenhagen to boost Chicago, Republicans on Capitol Hill already were speculating that "the White House staff, the senior staff needs to get together somewhere and figure out how they are going to fix this, because they are in a deep slump."

    Back in Chicago, Rick Pearson, Katherine Skiba and Kathy Bergen of the conservative Chicago Tribune said it was a "a political blow for President Barack Obama and Mayor Richard Daley."

  • Obama certainly didn't need any more bad news, but the director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy said it wasn't likely that a climate and energy bill will be ready for his signature before he goes to Copenhagen to negotiate a global climate treaty in December.

  • In what could be called, I suppose, he said–he said, David Letterman revealed last night that he had been the target of an extortion attempt. Letterman said someone told him to pay $2 million or information about his sexual relationships with women who worked on his show would be made public.

    Letterman said he had contacted the D.A., and a CBS employee was arrested Thursday. Today, Letterman was commended by critics for the way he handled things, and the employee entered a plea of not guilty to the charge of attempted grand larceny.

    I guess this story will have legs.
And so it goes.

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