Progressional insanity

Jeff Genung

“Progress may have been all right once, but it has gone on too long.”
– [tag]Ogden Nash[/tag]

Oh, the things that amuse me when I’m stuck at the office after 11 on a Saturday night. Yes, friends and neighbors, it’s time once again for that little special section we like to call “[tag]Progress Chenango[/tag].”

The 2007 edition will start appearing in your [tag]Evening Sun[/tag] with the first two sections in Monday’s edition. Progress, for the uninitiated, is our annual comprehensive review of the business and community organization climate in [tag]Chenango County[/tag]. It is a Herculean task, requiring stellar efforts on the part of our editorial, advertising and press room staffs. It is undeniably our biggest undertaking of the year, and arguably our best. Many newspapers publish similar “Progress” sections annually, but I’d stack ours up among the best in the state.

That said, it is also a tremendous pain in the ass.

I say that with love, of course.

Anyone who’s ever been anywhere near me during the last two weeks in January for the past decade or so knows just what a bear I become during this project. While the sales staff and my reporters spend the first part of the month soliciting ads and gathering stories, my own personal hell doesn’t begin until theirs is over.

There not being enough hours in the regular work day to put out what is essentially another edition a day for an entire week, I accomplish most of my Progress editing and layout tasks at night – and sometimes into the wee hours of the morning.

Some casual observations after spending the last 48 hours chained to this desk:

1. I should never drink coffee past 8 p.m.

2. I should not try to compensate for drinking coffee past 8 p.m. by taking anything called “Simply Sleep” when I get home. It is definitely not that simple.

3. Pat Newell seriously needs to clean up his cubicle.

4. I should crank the heat up to 75 here more often.

5. Lackawanna Avenue is not a pleasant neighborhood at midnight. Lots of people must walk to and from Beadle’s. Drunk, both ways.

6. One of them left a crockpot in a plastic bag right outside our office door. Perhaps it’s some sort of message.

7. Before I get too loopy from a serious lack of sleep and an overdose of Snickers and Crackerjacks, I think I’ll wrap this up …

Being largely alone in the office at night toiling away on Progress not only allows me to revel in my own martyrdom, it also allows me to reflect on the state of affairs at the newspaper, and dream up new ways to entertain and inform my readers and torture my staff.

So please, enjoy the fruits of our labors as Progress Chenango 2007 rolls off the presses this week, and then look forward to some hopefully exciting upcoming changes in The Evening Sun as we ‘progress’ into the new year.