Thursday, January 21, 2010

View from the Newsroom

We didn't get yesterday's news until approximately 4:45 p.m. I don't know how to contextualize that fact.
I feel that Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities spokesman Tom Wilson went out of his way to make sure we got the information before we read about it in someone else's paper. But as we got the news, we began to notice that other Middle Georgia media outlets were already posting incomplete stories as we were just hearing it.
As you may well be able to imagine, when news like this breaks at 5 in the afternoon, it is hard to get people on the phone to talk about it. Central State Hospital spokespeople had already gone home--and that didn't matter much anyways because Atlanta had put a gag order on them. And the legislative delegation was either incommunicado or wasn't saying anything until they had more details.
But the eeriest part about the afternoon was overhearing the phone calls people were making from other departments of the paper as the news filtered throughout the building.
I heard the phrase 'they're closing the Powell Building' ring out repeatedly through the next two hours as we rushed to try and write stories for today's front page.
Milledgeville has gone through a lot of blood letting in the last two years, but this may be the biggest blow of all of them.
The dome of the Powell Building is as much of a symbol of the City of Milledgeville as the north and south gates of the Old Capitol. Central State Hospital is synonymous with the community that hosted it, and now the focal point of that institution will be moth-balled like the rest of the historic campus around it.
And to add insult to injury, the state is going to disrupt the lives of another 200 people in 'giving them the opportunity' to follow their job to where ever it is needed.
Some People Need Their Jobs Right Where They Have Them.

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