The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

September 28, 2012

Joe Hadsall: Newsroom like second family

By Joe Hadsall
Globe Features Editor

JOPLIN, Mo. — I’ve never worked in a place like a newsroom.

I’ve had a variety of jobs in my career, from making burgers to shelving magazines. I’ve had some cushy, hardly working gigs and cleaned up some awful messes.

Even my journalism jobs have been varied. I’ve worked with a crowd, putting together a magazine as well as by myself in the office of a weekly newspaper, where I would cover for an office receptionist while writing an editorial.

Nothing tops working in The Joplin Globe newsroom. There’s something about working alongside so many committed, dedicated reporters that makes journalism less a daily-grind job and more a purpose-filled calling.

Don’t get me wrong: There’s a grind. This is no easy job. But it’s fulfilling in so many different ways.

I get a lot of questions about what working in a newsroom is like, and it’s not an easy question to answer. I have yet to figure out an elegant, nutshell sentence that really encompasses what the experience is like.

I can understand the curiosity, however. People are, after all, curious, and journalism is one of the few jobs where one’s curiosity is pursued fervently.

There are also plenty of TV shows and movies that confuse a newsroom with a TV studio. People see actors ham up the roles of TV reporters and editors and think that we’re all like that.

Or maybe they think all editors are like J. Jonah Jameson -- cigar-smoking loudmouths who want dirty dirt on beloved heroes.

Maybe years ago that wasn’t too far from the truth.

The average newsroom of today is nothing like the days before computers, where reporters kept bottles of Jack next to the index cards and notebooks crammed in their desk drawers. But I still work alongside colorful characters, who work their tails off to keep our government leaders honest, our accomplishments recognized and our readers informed.

It gives us a level of camaraderie like nothing I’ve ever felt. My colleagues in the newsroom are like a second family, and they’re filled with family-like emotions -- from the pride of our accomplishments to the passion of our arguments.

So, of course, I don’t mind dishing a little dirt on them.

I’ll be at the Joplin Public Library at 6 p.m. Thursday for a coffee talk, talking about the life of a journalist and what life is like in the newsroom. We’ll talk about a number of things, from triumphs to tragedies, politics to parties. I look forward to meeting you, and I might even answer a few questions or show y’all a card trick.

"Revolution" not so revolutionary

I’ll withhold ultimate judgment on NBC’s “Revolution,” the latest sci-fi drama to hit TV. So far, I’m watching, but it won’t take much for me to go back to watching “Monday Night Football.”

In fact, that’s one of my biggest gripes: Why would any network set up a new drama to compete against ESPN’s “Monday Night Football”? The cable show gets ratings that the big three networks would love to have.

Back to the show: The story revolves around a mysterious shutoff of all power and devices that use power, from cars to cellphones. Charlotte Matheson’s dad, Ben, knows something about why, but never reveals the secret -- until he is killed in a fight with a militant from the Monroe Republic, the martial-law enforcing group that seized control of the country after the blackout.

The story has promise and has featured some good action. But I’m looking for story from any series hoping to recapture the magic of “Lost.”

And so far, it isn’t there, even though it’s produced by J.J. Abrams.

For one, the story is dishing big details too quickly.

SPOILER ALERT: In just the first two episodes, we find that the power can come back on, some people have control over it, Charlotte’s lost uncle used to be bros with bad guy Monroe, and Charlotte’s dead mother is really alive. Seems like these things could have been revealed slowly.

Remember that we had no idea about a hatch on the island in “Lost” until the second half of the first season. It focused primarily on telling characters’ stories and dealing with the initial drama.

Why couldn’t have “Revolution” done the same thing? Charlotte came from what seemed to be a pretty cushy village. I wouldn’t mind exploring how that thing got built, or how her mom “died,” or why her parents couldn’t have stockpiled even more food, water and inhalers for her asthmatic brother if they knew this blackout was coming one day.

I’ll keep watching for a bit, mainly because the story is kind of interesting, and I’ll put some faith in Abrams’ projects and anything that stars Giancarlo Esposito (who played Gus Fring brilliantly in “Breaking Bad”). And it’s after “The Voice,” which The Lovely Paula Hadsall enjoys.

But the show has enough irritants that it could send me back to watching football teams I don’t care about -- mainly because watching the NFL’s replacement refs is like watching NASCAR. You just KNOW there’s gonna be a disaster.