Thursday, October 13, 2016

The newspaper jinx

There's on old newspaper superstition where you don't do or say anything to jinx getting the newspaper paper out. It's silly, I know, but it's there (or was) in various newsrooms. I've only worked in eight newspaper buildings, but I've felt the same thing at all of them.

Several years ago, we were putting out the sports section for the Winston-Salem Journal in North Carolina, and, without thinking, I said that we were in great shape. We had most of the paper done, and there was at least an hour before deadline. I was leaning back and smiling.

Ed Campbell, who was in charge that night, gasped. I'd broken the unwritten rule, and I was a veteran newspaper man (more than 20 years) to boot. I apologized and hoped that nothing would happen.

Naturally, it did. Within 10 minutes, the computer went down. It came back just before deadline, and we hurried to finish. We might have been 10 or 15 minutes late for our last page.

I don't think Ed or Doug really blamed me for the computer crash, but I kept my mouth shut after that. You never know.

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Anecdotes by Tom Gillispie

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