In my humble opinion

I got plenty o’ nuttin’

Posted 6/2/22

Some weeks, time is of the essence at the award-winning River Reporter. Because of the three-day holiday weekend that has just passed, we had to put the newspaper together a little bit faster than …

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In my humble opinion

I got plenty o’ nuttin’


Some weeks, time is of the essence at the award-winning River Reporter. Because of the three-day holiday weekend that has just passed, we had to put the newspaper together a little bit faster than usual.

As a general rule, the breakdown goes something like this: My work-week begins on Tuesday, when the entire staff is involved in online meetings ranging from the sales department’s discussion to staff meetings to editorial and beyond. I take part in two of them, while some other poor slobs (sorry, Amanda) have to endure one after another after another.

They’re time consuming, but of course we all have to be on the same page (pun intended) as to how the paper will be put together—and not only for the current issue. The conversations invariably include projects beyond that time frame as well.

As a general rule, I take Wednesdays off, because I’m out and about consistently through the weekend, while others take a much-deserved break, happily toiling away in their gardens or languishing by the lake, fishin’ pole in hand. Thursdays, I’m up at 5:30 a.m. and off to the recording studio in Bridgeville, NY to chatter on Thunder102 radio with Paul Ciliberto (and friends) while plugging the paper at every opportunity for a couple of hours. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my time on-air, but who wants to sound chipper at the crack of dawn? Trust me, it’s work.

In order to give editors, proofreaders, (sorry, Ms. Willard), our esteemed publisher and the graphics “department” (sorry, Amanda) time to do their work properly, the writers are asked to have their articles and columns in by Sunday night, so I can usually be found slumped over my desk, burning the midnight oil, processing photos and typing approximately 750 words in order to have another journalistic masterpiece ready for the team by Monday morning. At that time, editing begins in earnest and I proceed to bite my nails. I’m always concerned that some poor slob (sorry, Annemarie) will have to fix the myriad of mistakes I invariably present, often groveling for forgiveness (sorry, Ms. Willard) as they collectively struggle to make sense of my gibberish, and then make it look beautiful on the printed page. This again falls squarely on poor Amanda’s shoulders, because she wears many hats. Sorry.

The amazing behind-the-scenes staff at the River Reporter then works feverishly to put all of the puzzle pieces together so that final drafts can be approved by end of day Monday, and the paper is “put to bed” for the week and is off to the printer. On Tuesday, we’re busily discussing the next edition.

All in order to get it online, have it arrive in your mailbox and appear magically on newsstands by Thursday morning, when the cycle begins anew. Fifty-two weeks a year.

Every so often, a holiday pops up, which twists our schedules into a knot and we’re told that “Thursday is Sunday; Friday is Monday,” and so forth and so on, sending me into a frenzy as I try to figure out how to write about weekend events before the weekend has actually begun. I was stymied last Tuesday when asked what I’d be covering for this issue because, well, Thursday was Sunday and I weakly stated that “I got plenty of nuttin’.”

“I suppose I could write about my house wrens returning and making a new nest,” I said, hearing groans from the editorial staff. “Or maybe my handyman projects? I’ve got Gramma Helen’s old fireplace mantel to mount to a wall in the bedroom, [more groans]. I’m repainting an old mirror and I bought a new weed whacker. Oh!” I said excitedly, “I’m installing a new screen door downstairs… I’m pretty psyched about that!”

Crestfallen by the palpable lack of enthusiasm, I muted myself online and hung my head. “Some weeks are easier than others, old girl,” I wheezed in the general direction of my dog, who was transfixed by the wrens outside my office window. I heaved a sigh, picked up the camera and began to snap pictures, praying for inspiration. As predicted, I got plenty o’ nuttin’—but 799 words—and nuttin’s plenty for me. In my humble opinion.

Fun Fact: “I Got Plenty o’ Nuttin’” is a song composed in 1934 by George Gershwin for the 1935 “folk-opera” “Porgy and Bess.” The lyrics are by DuBose Heyward, the author of the novel “Porgy” on which the opera was based, and Ira Gershwin. It is one of the most famous songs from the opera (along with “Summertime,” “It Ain’t Necessarily So” and “Bess, You Is My Woman Now”) and it has been recorded by hundreds of singers.

Jonathan Charles Fox, work-week, holiday weekend, publishing, River Reporter


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