Clippings: Media give thanks for news bounty

Too often I have taken Thanksgiving for granted as simply a day off from work to gorge myself on turkey, pie and just about anything else that doesn’t move. Pilgrims? Have never really given them, their funny costumes and blunderbusses much thought.
But this year, I thought I’d take some time to put the “Thanks” in Thanksgiving — specifically from a journalist’s perspective. In no particular order, I thought I’d extend my heartfelt newsroom appreciation to:
• Bridges in Addison County for adding some fireworks to what is usually a dull news cycle around this time of year. I realize that this media bonanza comes at the expense of those inconvenienced by the Champlain Bridge and Cross Street Bridge projects. I truly hope both spans are put in place as soon as possible so people and businesses can return to some semblance of normalcy. But in the meantime, the media is getting quite the tutorial about the physics, the logistics and the indispensable nature of bridges.
And it appears as though Addison County will continue to see a ton of bridge news in the near future — particularly in Middlebury. Not long after the Cross Street Bridge is erected, engineering crews will be sizing up major repairs to the covered Pulp Mill Bridge and replacement of the railroad overpasses on Merchants Row and Main Street. Talk about getting all the work done in a compressed period of time…
• E-mail. It was still pretty far-fetched when I broke into the newspaper biz more than a quarter-century ago, but e-mail has made a journalist’s life infinitely easier. When I first started at the Addison Independent in 1990, we used to fetch our faxes from Main Street Stationery. Now we get instantaneous access to press releases, project designs and photos at our computer. It’s a convenience that has made our research easier. Of course these electronic advances are a double-edged sword; the Internet continues to take its toll on our craft…
• A riveting 2010 election year. Only a few months ago, it appeared as though the next election year would be dominated by incumbents, boding for few electoral fireworks. But Gov. James Douglas’s announcement that he will not seek another term has triggered a free-for-all that became even more frenzied when Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie announced he will run for the state’s top executive post. All of a sudden, around a half-dozen, high-profile Democrats have confirmed they will compete in a September primary for the right to face the Republican nominee in November. It remains to be seen whether Dubie will himself face a primary. In the meantime, Republicans Mark Snelling of Starksboro and state Sen. Phil Scott of Montpelier have confirmed they will run for lieutenant governor.
With so many state senators running for higher office, this will set up more interesting elections at the local and regional levels. All of this will keep reporters’ collective adrenaline up through election night, for sure.
• My dear family for bearing with the sometimes strange hours that come with the reporting vocation. With as many stories as I’ve covered, I’m sure I’ve missed some even better ones at the dinner table over the years.

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