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Waiting, waiting, waaaaiting for the call

January 15, 2010

As a journalist, I am always on deadline. DEADLINE. Think of that word briefly. That word consists of two words within it: dead and line. You probably could have figured that out on your own, but I just thought I’d spell it out for you in case there was any confusion. What a sinister, malevolent, threatening word! It, in a way, suggests that if you do not get to this intangible “line” before a certain time, you will be “dead,” or perhaps killed. Either way, your future is quite grim.

And this is why, when I make calls to people, and they do not pick up, and I tell them about my deadline, the LEAST they could do is call back. Even if they call back and tell me, “Hey, I’m not gonna talk to you,” then at least I won’t be waiting around for a call that will never come!

Here is one scenario: I was writing an article on the closing of a library, and My deadline was at 4 PM on Thursday. I began my calling endeavors on Monday. It would seem like that manager of that library — whose job would be threatened if the library DID in fact close — should be MORE than willing to comment and raise awareness for her cause! Oh, contraire!

Called twice on Monday. Left messages with the assistant AND on the direct line. These are quite sweet messages, by the way:

“Hi my name is Emilia Barrosse and I’m writing an article for the Daily on the city council’s idea to shut down the library. I’m sure you’re very busy but if you get 5-10 minutes I’d love to talk to you briefly about it, and get your opinion on the matter. PLEASE do not hesitate to call, my deadline is Thursday at 4 pm. I look forward to hearing from you, have a nice day!”

Does THAT sound menacing? Did I NOT give this person AMPLE time to call me back? And shouldn’t this issue of SOMEWHAT importance to this person?? It baffles me.

I continue to call and leave messages daily until Thursday, when I have to write the article without this person’s feedback.

I’m just going say right now — the article was GREAT, even without that source. So in the end, I won.

BUT, the best (worst) part is, the DAY after the article hits the papers, I get a call on Friday from the general manager.

“Hi, Emilia, I’ve been meaning to call you for a while, and I’m finally getting around to it. What do you need?”

I inform this person, that, unfortunately, the article has already gone to press, but that I could possibly be calling in the future for follow up.

“Oh,” the manager says. “I so wish you had gotten in touch with me.”

WHAAAAAAAAT!?!?!??! How about, I with YOU had gotten in touch with MEEE!!! I couldn’t have done anything more, and yet you seem to have no CLUE that you were the problem in this situation!

My point is, if you are too lazy to dial 7 numbers on a phone and actually get in touch with someone who is DESPERATE to hear from you, do NOT pretend like its anyone’s fault but YOUR OWN.

Thank you, I’ll be here all week.

One Comment leave one →
  1. victoria permalink
    January 16, 2010 7:06 pm

    I think I know the problem. The manager was dialing seven numbers, as you suggest, and she should have dialed 10. Without an area code, the calls never went thru. Oh well.

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