Bad day

By far, today was the most disappointed I’ve felt in a long time. I got nothing done at work.

I sat in Lenoir County Superior Court for almost two hours today to see how an administrative session works. Ideally, I wanted to find out what happened with two cases … two of about 70 on the docket.

And I failed.

I failed because I did not have the time to wait all day just to get a 12-inch story about legal action that didn’t really matter. I failed because I hadn’t instilled an interior contact within the court system. I came away with nothing.

Now I’ll wait until Friday when the clerk updates the Superior Court decisions. I’ll share it with people, yeah, but where’s the work in that?

I also failed at communicating with my boss about a story I’d budgeted for today. Before Christmas, I’d written “Lawmen checkpoints” on the budget for Dec. 31 and “How effective are checkpoints” for Jan. 2. My plan then was this: first, do a roundup of lawmen’s efforts to combat drunken driving over New Year’s, then follow up with how effective they were.

The trouble started when I learned the highway patrol arrest reports would not be available to me until today due to the patrol’s office clerk, who compiles the DWI arrests, being on vacation for the holidays. So, I moved “How effective are checkpoints” to tomorrow’s paper.

Well, that caused all sort of problems when our content editor, who also was out over the holiday, read what I had budgeted for tomorrow. He took it as a general, enterprise-like story on the effectiveness of police checkpoints whereas the way I’d intended it to be was simply a report on DWI arrests over New Year’s.

It’s running as the centerpiece on the front page of tomorrow’s paper. Worthy of the slot? Not a chance – but it wasn’t until late in the day when we realized this, and by then it was simply too late to change things around.

To make matters worse, it turns out none of the law enforcement agencies even conducted checkpoints over New Year’s – they simply employed random patrols at “saturated” levels.

They did have a good New Year’s, netting three drunk drivers and responding to zero crashes that were fatal, but it’s just not centerpiece material.

So I’ll probably look pretty dumb tomorrow, especially once people read a story I’d obviously (at leas to me, anyway) padded in a vain attempt to make a centerpiece story.

In my defense, I will say that today I was about as tired as I’ve ever – something I contribute solely to the ridiculous shift I pulled Monday after not getting a whole lot of sleep since Friday night.

Ah well. Tomorrow’s another day, right?

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