I wouldn’t normally brag about going out for a special dinner to the Outback Steak House. Nothing personal but I even have the time to take my wife out for dinner, it’s not there but some out-of-the-way unique sort of place.
I am not a restaurant snob mind you, but there’s no way I am waiting 90 minutes to get into Outback. And I didn’t stand in line either with the 30 people in line at a local KFC when it opened near my house and the kids begged to go.
Sorry but there are some things I just won’t do. Call me stubborn, whatever. Besides this isn’t about food and dining with friends and relatives but about our new digital world.
While chowing down on bread, Bloomin’ Onions, chicken wings and some sort of spinach dip, my cell phone buzzed with a news alert. I know it’s rude but in this business you check your cell when it buzzes. You just never know who’s on the line or what breaking news is happening.
In the old days this sort of thing didn’t happen. If you were in your car, you might hear KYW radio blare its tones for a breaking story. If if you were at home, the TV would break into regular programming for a Special Report. If those things didn’t get your heart pumping in the news business then they needed to check for a pulse.
So back to the Outback and the digital world and why our jobs as journalists are tougher than ever.
The news alert I received on my phone Saturday night was to let me know that singer Whitney Houston had died at age 48. That was a tragedy. But watching and listening at our table — especially when my wife did her best to alarm an entire restaurant when I told her the news — really revealed just how instant our reaction as news people must be.
Within 60 seconds I was telling everyone at our table and a couple of tables next to ours that yes, Whitney was found dead. They all wanted details and of course I could not offer any.
Meanwhile, while waiting for the 12-ounce sirloin, I tapped on my cell phone and cranked out a text alert that went to all of our text alert subscribers, basically telling them all I knew — that Whitney Houston had died.
Then I put the phone down, took a sip of a Diet Coke, and bang, there was my dinner. In the year 2012, just another night for a newsman. Of course I continued to monitor the events while waiting for my giant slice of carrot cake. But meanwhile I texted my newsroom guy who put the latest story on the Daily Local News web site.
For those who wondered recently why we were fussing about Twitter access in the Chester County Courts, this is why. No the case we were following wasn’t to the level of the death of a Hollywood and music star. But it was important for our readers and we’ll continue to push for permission.
Folks, this is a digital world of instant news. You expect it, we live it and we love it. It’s journalism in the new era. And despite what some may say, the Internet isn’t just a fad.
— Andy Hachadorian