Writing on deadline

This last Saturday I went to Fulton to cover the Churchill Fellows Weekend at the National Churchill Museum. Along with speakers general Petraeus and Jon Meacham, I had the opportunity to talk to two people who had been at Churchill’s original speech 71 years ago.

The most difficult part about this story was the shear amount of information that I had and tying it all together into one story, while on deadline. During the media Q and A, Petraeus answered questions about the current administration, Russia, China, but nothing that really tied into Churchill. Then in his key-note talk, he spoke on current “iron curtains” and America’s relations with other countries.

Counter to all that Petraeus spoke on, Meacham talked about the history of Churchill and the importance of having a historical mindset, specifically for those who hold power.

When I got back to the newsroom around 5, I thought I knew what I was going to do. I had an outline and a plan of attack, I was ready to knock this story out and go home.

I started writing and was overloaded with the amount of information that I had. I wanted to include it all, but I couldn’t. I didn’t have the time for that.

Other than GA days, this was my first time turning a story that quickly, and I struggled. Looking back at this experience, what I think would have helped me would have been to go through my notes, pick out the most important pieces and re-write them elsewhere. This would have helped me to focus in and write the story quicker.

There are a lot of key quotes that didn’t make it into the story because I didn’t have that needed focus. One of the people I interviewed that didn’t make it into the story was the gentleman who created the sculpture of Churchill out front of the museum. He gave me the semblance and reasons why he did a lot of what he did in the sculpture to portray Churchill’s character. It was all very interesting, but I couldn’t find where to put it in the story so it was left out.

There was also a lot of information from both Petraeus and Meacham as well as general Churchill history that I wish I would have included in the final story.

Overall, I don’t believe the story turned out poorly, but it was very short and I believe that I could have done a better job. This experience has helped me to figure out my writing process and how I work best under a quick turn-around deadline.


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