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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, June 6, 2010

Even at the end, there's a deadline

BY Greg Wiles
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Greg Wiles

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This is my final piece for The Honolulu Advertiser, and like half of the things I've written here, is being done on deadline.

That's the nature of the beast. Time isn't on your side.

And so it is, too, for The Advertiser.

The clock is ticking and by the end of this day, this newspaper will be consigned to history.

In newspaper parlance it's 30 for The Advertiser.

That's the symbol from the typewriter days that was written to tell editors the piece had reached its end.

Another newspaper sunk by changing times and economics.

Sadly, this is may also be the end of the road for me in journalism.

There's tons of schmaltz that all newspaper reporters reminisce about at times like these.

Like the time I called directory assistance for Calcutta from a cave-like nook in the newsroom and got connected with Mother Teresa. Or an interview with eccentric billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto while sitting in a sunken living room at the Kaiser Estate.

Or watching Pope John Paul II arrive in the Popemobile for the beatification of Father Damien during a drizzly, overcast day in Brussels. The clouds opening up to let the sun shine through momentarily.

There's been hurricanes, blackouts, floods, real estate bubbles, dead people and live wires.

There's the many characters who make up a newsroom old timers who kept bottles of bourbon in their right hand drawer. The folks who are incredibly canny, funny and encyclopedic.

There's been great and interesting people I've met in researching stories.

One of my most enduring memories won't be anything specific, but just being part of a newsroom when it shifts into hyperdrive when big stories break.

On most days you can walk into the office and find someone focusing intently on writing. Others are casting about for stories and others idly chewing the fat about the latest political or journalistic gaffe.

Then there are the times when the earth shifts either figuratively or literally, warranting the whole newsroom's attention.

Say the sale of The Advertiser, or shutdown of Aloha Airlines.

It's instances like those where everyone works with a single purpose and intensity as the newsroom sprints toward a deadline. There's a scramble to get as much information as quickly as you can and tell it in a coherent manner.

It's incredible to see and experience. The adrenaline is palpable.

Somewhat like when a starship shoots into hyperspace in a sci-fi tale.

All the stars blur and at the end of the journey you've accomplished something memorable.

I'll miss those trips to another dimension.