Reporting during the holidays

Much of the world gets to kind of check out from work for awhile during the winter holidays.

Not journalists.

We still have newspapers to print, websites to update, newscasts to fill.

The sun sets of the Patuxent River -- the highlight of a winter solstice hike that I covered.
The sun sets over the Patuxent River — the highlight of a winter solstice hike that I covered.

I worked the breaking news shift on the weekend before Christmas and enjoyed covering a winter solstice hike at a nature sanctuary. It was nice to spend a couple hours outside and gave the newspaper a different story than the usual last-minute-shopping story. (Another reporter did, ultimately, report on Christmas Eve shoppers.)

I even got a surprise on Christmas Day, when I picked up my phone to check Facebook (lots of pictures of kids with presents!) and saw an unread message in my work email account.

Who sends a work email on Christmas Day?

Turns out, it was the police. And they were telling me about a fatal shooting that happened on Christmas morning.

Using my mother-in-law’s iPad, I worked with our online editor to get a quick brief up on the website, even though neither one of us was officially working or even on call. It wasn’t much, but at least we got the basic news out there.

I was thinking about these stories and tried to recall other interesting stories from past December doldrums.

In the past, I’ve written about a jet-skiing Santa causing Bay Bridge traffic woes, holiday shopping ideas off the beaten path, special yoga classes for charity, a Christmas Eve flood at a church, the Naval Academy losing a football bowl game at RFK Stadium and a surprisingly generous donation to a Salvation Army red kettle.

There still are a few days left in 2012. Who knows what kind of news they’ll bring?

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