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Code Blue in the News Room

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Power: On
Remote: In hand
Channel: News (pick your favorite)

Magically, from the comfort of your home, a reporter appears on the screen and you hear information about a breaking news story. Effortless for viewers (as long as electricity and cable bills are paid). Not effortless for the news station.

Every Tuesday and Wednesday, I stroll into Fox sometime between 7:30-9 a.m. I just need to be there 15 minutes before my segment. A skeleton crew produces the morning show; they are always a little bleary-eyed since they've worked overnight to write content, design graphics, load the teleprompters, and make sure story transitions make sense. The producers cross their fingers that guests arrive on time so they can get them mic'd up and shuttled into the green room. Anchors Tom Butler and Alix Kendall are responsible for making sure that you can "Wake Up With Fox 9." Keith Marler is funny both on and off camera. There is a consistent, quiet (except for Keith) rhythm to the activity in the station. Five days a week, this crew produces a 5-hour morning news show...and it happens like clockwork.

Yesterday, I saw a different side to the news. I found myself in the station at the beginning of a breaking news story. I got out of the way and watched as the team went into action. There was an eerie similarity to what happens when a hospital loud speaker goes off with the words, "Code Blue."

It was about 9:59 am, and Matt, the executive producer, was just starting to take a deep breath as the morning's program was coming to an end. Before he could exhale and relax, the person monitoring the desk called out:

"BREAKING NEWS STORY! Minneapolis Schools are on lock down. Don't know any details."

There was a moment of suspended animation as everyone stopped to listen before they sprinted into action. It was the same pause that occurs between the moment that the Code Team beepers goes off and when everyone leaps into action and runs through the hallways to get to the patient's room.

To continue reading this blog, go to http://archelleonhealth.blogspot.com/2010/03/code-blue-in-news-room.html

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