Taking things a lot too seriously?

Thanks to Leslie for finding this!

I’m noticing a trend, that a lot of my blogs have to do with work. That’s not surprising because most of my waking hours are spent at work. There have been lots of accomplishments: getting video on the Web, a better understanding of what this market is interested in on social media, live streaming of events, starting a new recalls section, and helping coordinate our new mobile app (news, not weather) because that company that has been doing ours is getting out of that business. Otherwise, I got really sick from Wednesday night into Thursday and the new place is shaping up. Much fewer boxes. Now, on to what I thought I’d be writing about.

I lost a little respect for an old friend. A lot of what I do every day is find news stories and get people to read them. To click on the page because they want to know more. Most of that is on my own station’s site, www.WCYB.com. But there aren’t always so many good stories.

Sometimes, there’s just not a lot going on in the Tri-Cities, and often IB doesn’t put a good variety on the site. So I’m supposed to go outside sites, usually NBC and CNN, but also a variety of other legitimate sites. On Wednesday, I found a story. It was actually on our own site, put there by IB but written by CNN. Here is the link, which another station still has up, if you want to read it. The gist of the story is: the BBC is not renewing a presenter’s contract because he beat up a producer. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

Of course, I thought it would be interesting because of my business. I know the general public would find it interesting because it gives a so-called behind-the-scenes look at how television shows are put together. I did not look into the story too deeply. I remember 20 years ago, my friend Seth repeatedly lecturing me not to think too much while writing teases. Repeatedly. So in recent years, that started sinking in.

I put a remark on top of the story on the station’s Facebook page: “Lesson to anchors and reporters: Be nice to producers!” I put the same thing on my two Facebook sites. They have different audiences.

It was very simple. I didn’t think anyone would take it so seriously, like an us-versus-them situation. Certainly not personally, especially for a guy who just got back into the field after eight years. But that’s not how one old friend who I worked with many years ago took it.

Photos from this post were lost during the migration. I went back to all sorts of archives to recreate photos as they were. I could not find this one, but she commented in a way that wasn’t very nice. I don’t have her exact words. However, I added the aftermath to the end of this post, after more than five years.

Okay, big deal. Obviously, everybody should do their job and show respect to the other. That’s looking into it a bit more than I would’ve, but to each his/her own. But then she sent me a private message (to her credit, not as a comment). Read it. What do you think?

“I know you are most excited to be there, but you drew a dangerous conclusion with this post in a place whose dynamics you don’t yet know. The only time I have ever been yelled at is by marginal producers who are jealous they aren’t on the air. And that’s after I saved their marginal butts live on the air. Don’t make enemies your first week or you will be gone. Find a better way to post something you want to stir up a discussion. But I guarantee you, I would be going to someone today to say, ‘Who the fuck is this guy making these types of generalizations?’ I would think you’d have learned something working for the county.”

Dangerous conclusion? Dynamics you don’t yet know? Make enemies? Is that what I’m trying to do at this point in my life?

How am I supposed to take it? Obviously, my afternoon was not very pleasant. It bothered me that somebody I respected so much could take something so personally. Sounds like WAY too much time on her hands. I did show the boss. Nobody said a word. Didn’t think they would. Probably happy I was just doing my job, trying to get page views, show people something interesting they may not have seen, engage the audience. I’m just a little hurt. But not going to dwell on it or take it too seriously. Not anymore. Not worth it.

You saw the original post, on the work site, after 72 hours. By now, it’s done. Buried. Nobody else is going to see it, considering how much gets posted. The analytics were about average. I checked all the comments. Just two said almost the same thing as the original comment, which is perfectly fine. I was totally surprised, actually shocked, by how many people are familiar with the BBC show. I wasn’t.

Don’t go looking to see who wrote me. If I told, then nobody would be my friend and for good reason. Instead, the post is also up on my old “Lenny Cohen Wcyb” page. Become my friend there if you haven’t. Look for it and tell me what you think. This is what I published on my personal Facebook page after I published this blog.

It was especially meaningful that someone I worked with, all those years ago — who also worked with that other person — knew me so much better. Maybe that other person was having a bad day. (She actually died, a month-and-a-half later.)

PS: This blog’s site is now www.CohenConnect.com, even though the old version with WordPress will still work. Just trying to make it easier. Should’ve done that from the start.

About the author

The journalism “business” has changed — from standards to platforms to layoffs — along with the American public, and I’ve managed to survive somewhat on my own terms.

I started in 1994, becoming an award-winning and respected TV newscast producer.

Even better was creatively producing websites and social media, and serving as a station's digital media manager — writing news, creating graphics and getting evidence of growing my audience here in the nation's fourth largest market, Philadelphia.

I also taught first grade for eight years. My principal saw my class website and made me electronic gradebook manager to assist co-workers when we stopped using paper gradebooks.

In 2018, I took courses and earned the Google IT Support Professional Certificate.

In 2019, I was a freelance newspaper reporter, but enjoyed copy editing and reviving the publication’s social media even more.

That got me striking out on my own with a local news website to join the blog I created, designed and write.

Ask me about all the details.

I did drive Uber to make ends meet until I started as a customer service representative at one of the world’s largest web-hosting companies, with more than 8 million customer contracts and hosting more than 12 million domains.

With classroom and newsroom experience, I know how to prioritize, analyze and take the best course of action. Getting results means attention to detail, following through and following up.

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