Monday evening, at about 5pm. January 26, 2015. Writer’s conference room at CNN.
Staff of seven. Six men and one woman. They sit at a circular conference table. On the table are several carafes of coffee, coffee mugs, Styrofoam cups, coffee mate and a sugar container with real sugar, raw sugar, Splendid, Truvia packets, and a container of Agave. Several large screen TV sets are attached to the walls of the room. The conference room has no windows. Each person has a tablet.
Staff: Director Bill, and writer’s Jason, Harry, Peter, Tom, Rachel, Jacob and Martin.
Bill: Well, we’ve got us a blizzard. Maybe the biggest in 10 years, or more.
Peter: Let’s get started. Don Lemon, and staff are already on station, and they need copy.
Rachel: Do we have the commercial schedule set?
Peter: Yes. I’ve got it. We are set for 4 minutes of live, and 30 seconds of commercial. The alternative is 6 minutes of live and 90 seconds of commercial. Either way all is set.
Bill: Great. Do we have meteorologists on board.
Tom: Yes, Bill. We have three set to come on call.
Rachel: Who are they Tom?
Tom: Professor Harrison Thatcher from Univ. of Conn. And Peter Crowley from the Miami Hurricane Centre in Coral Gables.
Bill: Peter Crowley from where?
Tom: He is the chief Hurricane forecaster at the Miami Center.
Martin: We are talking about a blizzard, not a Caribbean rainstorm!
Jacob: Hurricane, blizzard so what. I have heard predictions of 50 to 60 mile winds with this blizzard
Harry: That sounds like a hurricane to me.
Rachel: In fact, what makes a blizzard, a blizzard..
Peter: Dairy Queen!
Rachel: O.K. wise guy. No I not kidding. It is the strength of the wind, not the amount of snow that defines a blizzard.
Bill: You mean, if we get 26 inches of snow in one storm that is not a blizzard.
Rachel: Right. Just a one monster snow storm.
Jacob: Folks, I just got an email from Don Lemon and he needs copy!
Harry: Send the following. “ The blizzard of 2015 is just starting to arrive and do not fool
yourself. This storm will be massive, and even life threatening. Perhaps where you are sitting there are only flurries, but that is just the calm before the storm.”
Rachel: That’ just 7 seconds. He needs more.
Harry: O.K. Don give this out now. “ Folks in Sunnyside, Queens or Rockville Centre Long Island why don’t you call in to 212-456-6666 and tell us your weather. In fact, any of you who would like to call to be our on-site weatherperson, please call 212-456-666”
Bill: Cut that! Stop that transmission. Stop it now.
Rachel: I’m sorry boss, it went out already. Don thought it was a great idea, and an audience builder. You know 15 seconds of fame for the guy on the street.
Bill: We can’t handle thousands of calls, and you gave the damn switchboard number of CNN. We need that line open for our news reporters.
Marty: The blizzard is the news. What else is happening?
Bill: What the hell are you talking about. The world is falling to shit, and we gonna have every Tom, Dick and Mary complaining about snowplows, and snowman in Staten Island.
Tom: Don is calling. He just slipped on some ice, and he needs cover for at least 5 minutes.
Bill: Rachel run the blizzard of 2006.
Rachel: We don’t have it set. I have the blizzard of 1776. Just foolin. I do have plenty of copy of the major blizzard of 1948.
Bill: Run it now. No wait. Finish the commercial. O.K. run it after Viagra.