(From Emily McAdam, TODAY Associate Producer)
My college friend Katy hung a yellow sign on the wall of her kitchen. Perched above the stove, in large black letters...it read - "ADJUST." Katy grew up in a Navy family. She moved from city to city, switched from school to school. Life became an adventure but also a constant adjustment. Just in case...Katy kept this sign posted for a bit of inspiration and as a stark reminder that life can change at any moment -- over breakfast or on the way to school. ADJUST.
At NBC we use a computer software system called iNews. The system emits a series of sounds to alert us to anything happening. When a major wire flashes on the computer screen, a loud noise comes from my computer speaker - BUZZ. When an instant message pops up I hear what sounds like a little bell - DING. Intersperse the "Buzz" of the wire hitting, with the "Ding" of a new message and you might hear a crazy, little ditty. Buzz. Ding. Buzz. Ding.
When a big story hits the wires, an assignment desk editor will swiftly paste it into a folder in iNews, otherwise known as "The Hot File." "Hot" meaning breaking news, hot breaking story...HOT enough to make you jump out of your seat. (And literally I sometimes do.) The staff at the NBC News bureaus from Burbank to Chicago to Dallas to DC and New York can access the file and find out the major news of the day.
During those jump-out-of-the-seat-moments, I sometimes think of Katy and her sign...so apropos for the news business. Buzz. The wire hits. Ding. You get the message to cover a story. And you stop for a moment. Cancel your dinner plans. Forget packing your bags -- there is no time (And you don't have the right jacket for a last minute trip to Mt. Hood anyway). Get on the plane. Buckle your seatbelt. Take a deep breath. And, as Katy might have said, "ADJUST."
The best part and the most challenging part of this job remains: every day is different for NBC Today Show. When a friend asks when I will be off work -- I simply say, "I am not too sure." I am never too sure. Because here we know...it may be off to the next adventure...who will we meet? And how can I forget the interesting individuals who have shared their lives with us before:
A discussion with Santa Claus about the hot new snack for reindeers; an interview with a woman in Bel Air about her proud, ailing father in Arkansas; a dinner with a striking pair of young newlyweds at a Brazilian restaurant in Provo, Utah; a peaceful morning car ride with the sister of a brave mountain climber from Texas; a terrifying car ride with my NBC colleagues to Houston to meet up with a hurricane; a meeting with a man undergoing every medical test imaginable; a lengthy discussion in the aisle of a grocery story with a woman who cares deeply for the environment and wants a better world...
The list goes on. The work goes on. Still what always stays consistent is change...and no matter what the story or the time of day...we will hear it...the Buzz. Ding. Buzz. Ding. Time to "ADJUST."
Thank you for the tip, Katy.