Not Breaking News

When I decided to pursue a journalism major in college, I had a feeling I didn’t want to work in a traditional fast-paced newsroom with same-day deadlines on top of my head. I confirmed this after writing a thing or two for my college newspaper, and felt the work I put out was too rushed and as a result, bad. I decided a magazine was more fitting for me, something that’s published monthly or even weekly, so I could have time to piece together a well-written and interesting story.

At SLAM, that’s exactly what I get to do, Alhamdulillah. But in addition to the print magazine stuff, the bulk of my work has to do with online content, specifically prepping features in the backend of the website with a light copy edit. I rarely work on the news-y news, and SLAM isn’t the type of publication that often breaks stories. So those scary, pressure building, your-fingers-better-be-typing-at-lightning-speed kind of deadlines don’t really exist for me.

Last week on Thursday afternoon, I experienced for the first time what it felt like to try to get something ready and prepped for right after the announcement came. One of my editors messaged me saying LeBron James was expected to make his announcement in the next few hours. My job was to find two pictures—one of James with the Heat and one with the Cavs—and size them for various slots on the website.

It doesn’t sound like much of a task, but when paired with the anticipation and excitement of not knowing exactly when the announcement would come—maybe it’d be this next minute!—plus a Photoshop that was taking its sweet ol’ time to save pictures, my heart was beating faster than usual.

When the clock approached 6 P.M., it seemed the announcement wasn’t about to come, so I signed off for the day and moved on with my life, as I assume my editors did. So even if it was a false alarm, it was a pleasant surprise to find myself enjoying that process of not knowing when and how the announcement would come, working quickly to be prepared, and simply being a part of SLAM’s coverage about which team LeBron James would sign with in summer 2014.

Of course, LeBron’s announcement came the day after while I was getting ready for Jumuah, so I didn’t see the news until a couple hours after the fact. It came in written form, a first-person essay about why he chose to return to his home in Ohio and play once again for the Cleveland Cavaliers. What a story for basketball. If LeBron James’ free agency history isn’t the definition of a roller coaster ride, I don’t know what is (besides like, an actual roller coaster ride).

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