Despite adversity, teamwork prevails

This section of the newspaper is called “In The Office.” Ok, whatever that means. It’s where staff members write an opinion. I’m still not quite sure why it’s called “In The Office,” but this week it is actually about what happened “in the office.”

Last week was and will be one of my most memorable issues of this newspaper. Being the assistant news editor, I write weekly and assist in some tasks to make the news editor’s job a little easier. Sounds simple enough.

That was until last Monday, when our news editor called me and told me he would be out of town all week for medical reasons. So the tasks of both news editor and assistant news editor were suddenly on me.

At first, I panicked a little. That was a lot of burden on me on such short notice during a week where I had three major projects for classes due.

Now, I’ve been in and out of this newspaper office since my first week as a freshman at Oswego State. I’ve written over 50 articles, have served under three consecutive news editors here and have watched them and learned a lot of different things from each one of them.

Last week put all that to the test. I wasn’t some small freshman standing by the news computer wanting a story anymore. I was at the helm.

As it turned out, along with the absence of our news editor, mandatory requirements to attend school events kept some of our copy editors out of the office for hours both days we worked on the newspaper. So the staff prepared itself for a rough and potentially long week. It reminded me of an incident my freshman year where the news editor got mono and was out for a time, which caused problems.

But, as people have said before, crises bring people together. And I’ve never seen such a response.

I had a writer who isn’t even on the newspaper staff constantly asking me if we needed any help editing. Former staff members came in the office to offer assistance. People I didn’t even know who had heard about the commotion who had trekked across campus on one of the snowiest days in recent memory to come into the office and ask if there was anything they could do to help.

I had writers emailing me revisions of their stories at 2 a.m. and an old journalism friend answer my phone calls at 4 a.m. I can’t even begin to count how many times I was asked, “Do you need anything? Can I help out with anything?”

And of course, the staff members picked up the pace as well and helped me when I needed it. There were members of the staff that didn’t have to be in the office but stayed and helped in any way they could. And our news editor, though in great pain and loopy from anesthesia, still insisted on talking on Google Hangouts with me and calling the office phone to check on everything right up until deadline.

And in the end, we came through. What looked like it could’ve been disaster was not so bad. It definitely reminded me, and the other staff members, I am sure, of the importance of every single person and their specific job. After all, when one bulb goes out, they all go out, right?

Wrong. All you have to do is add more lights.

Hard times redefine a group or organization. It never ceases to amaze me what measures people will go to when a crisis occurs. It becomes not about the individual anymore; it’s about the good of the group. It has definitely put me through a rebirth of attitude about what can happen “in the office.”