Busted! How to deal with the unexpected

By · Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

not teaching,
still THINKING …

This “F” goes to a busted water heater.

It is not so much that this much-needed appliance broke — or even that it leaked water onto the basement floor at an alarmingly steady rate. This broken water heater earns an “F” because of how it totally upended the normal routine of a Sunday evening.

Kind of reminds us, in retrospect, of how breaking news does exactly that same thing to journalists.

Journalists can be burned by breaking news because it tends to happen when they are planning something else. But they can — and do — overcome the challenge when they have a plan in place to deal with it. Plans vary depending on the news organization, size of staff, type of breaking news.

Yet despite any differences in plans, one thing is universal: A positive attitude helps.

Just as things will always break, we will always experience breaking news. Don’t let the unexpected become a frustrating interruption. Instead, put all your energy and effort into dealing with it.

(These two profs are no longer teaching at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School, but we are still thinking.)

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